Passing Time.

I woke up to my 6 AM alarm blasting. “Urghh,” I exclaimed blowing out the strands of hair that got caught in my mouth. I walked up to my drapes and shifted them to the side hoping to have a dramatic encounter with the sun’s rays that should have come bursting through the glass windows. Instead, I saw dark clouds slowly build. “Nice, just what I needed,” I whispered sarcastically. I made my way over to my desk and raised my laptop’s lid before entering into a ‘mouth fully opened’ yawn.

 

“Hey! I know you want to kiss me but don’t swallow me as well,” Jim’s voice teased from the other end of the call. “Wait, what? How did you ..?! But I didn’t hit the call button yet!” I admitted my confusion. “Well, you didn’t need to hit the call button since you didn’t hit the end call button after we spoke yesterday. And when did you start snoring like that?” Jim teased. Totally ignoring him I freaked out and raced out of my room to the hall, all the while hoping that it wasn’t my wifi device that I used to call Jim. Mum would kill me if I exhausted my bundle. It had been just two days since she topped up for me. To my relief, it was mum’s that was on, which meant my laptop automatically connected to it. I walked back to my room with a tired smile and sunk into the chair at my desk.

“Jim?” I frowned when I couldn’t find him. His chair was empty. I heard the door to his room slam shut and watched him settle in his seat. “Is that a towel around your neck,” I teased. “Jim, it’s a little past midnight over there, don’t tell me you went to shower.” I broke into laughter when I saw the silly look on his face. “Are you saying that I don’t like to bath?” Jim asked breaking into fits of laughter. “That’s exactly what I’m saying. In fact, you hold the record for most number of days gone without showering. Who does that? Five whole days!!” I stated. Jim shook his head and laughed like he was about to get me to shut up. I knew that gesture very well. “Anyway,” he started making sure he dragged his words. “I just went to brush my teeth. See?!” he said showing his teeth to the webcam. After a look at my embarrassed face he added, “Yhup, I won this time Baby Girl.” We spoke until mum woke up. She walked in to us laughing our heads off. After a while of talking to Jim herself also, he told us he was going to bed. We said our good nights and ended the call. This time I made sure the call had ended before shutting the lid.

 

“I could have sworn I topped my bundle up only last week,” mum said. “A notification just came that all I’m left with is 500 mb worth of data.” I bit my lip and hoped she didn’t connect the dots. She gave up on trying to find out what she did online that took that much data and walked out of my room. I looked out the window and saw no change in the weather. “I have to get out of the house before it starts raining,” I whispered to myself. I was in and out of the bathroom quicker than usual. I planned on getting mum to drop me off at a friend’s place. That was the only way I was sure I could beat the rain.

 

Dad came into my room and sat on my bed. I had been awake for a while now. Just staring at the roof. I sat up and placed my pillow between my back and the wooden bed frame to feel comfy. “Good morning lad,” Dad greeted. I smiled to reply and then continued rubbing my eyes. “How’s your stay been so far son?” I searched my heart for an answer to give but I chose not to say how I really felt. It would have meant adding that coming to stay with him only made me feel more distant from him. Dad had too much going on for him. I didn’t want him to worry about my ‘entirely honest but maybe a little bit selfish feelings.’ “It’s been a little bit quiet, Dad. And you’re almost always at work.” He nodded to show he understood and tried to explain, “About that… I’ve been trying to get this promotion. Once I can lock that in, my work hours would reduce and we can spend more time together.”

At least he’s trying. I mean that counts for something! I couldn’t help but smile.

 

After Dad left for work I got ready to leave home too. Looked at the hall one last time to make sure i had properly tidied up. Satisfied with what I saw, I shut the door behind me. It was around 5:45 AM when I set off yet I could see traces of the sun’s rays hitting the morning sky. I walked up to Second Cup and noticed it was locked. “So much for early morning breakfast,” I whispered to myself before turning around to leave. “Jim?” Lili’s voice called out from behind. I turned to see Lili walking towards me. Her hair was in a mess and she had barely managed to put on her work attire. Despite her obvious rushed look, she was still very pretty. “Do you know what the time is?” she asked. Before I could answer, she made her way to the door and struggled a bit with unlocking it. “Is someone chasing you?” I asked concerned about how rushed she seemed. She shook her head no and pushed the door open. “I’m late! Here opens at 6:30! Look at the time now.” It was 6:00. “I have to clean up and arrange the furniture, then go to the employees only section to shower and freshen up. All in 30 minutes!!” she spat out in one breath. I thought for a minute and came up with an idea. “Why don’t you head straight to the bathroom and go freshen up. I can take care of tidying up here till you come back,” I suggested. She didn’t look convinced that it was a good idea so I added, “I have worked at a restaurant before.” I lied. What mattered though was that it made it easier for her to say ‘okay’. She rushed to the back to go shower and get into her work attire while I still stood in the centre of the café. “This is going to be tough”

 

Things went pretty fine. It had been long since I got to hang out with a girl that was my age too so I definitely enjoyed myself. That is until her boyfriend came over. Her parents were away for sometime so she had the house all to herself. Looks like she made plans for it too. “Imani, meet my sweetheart,” she said smiling like she just won the lottery. We exchanged a couple of ‘hellos’ before he made himself feel at home. He took off his shirt and laid back in the couch. Before I could look away, my lady friend sat on him and started planting kisses along his chest upwards. I sensed things were going to get nasty pretty quick so I allowed myself to clear my throat. They pulled away from the other’s mouth and turned to look at me. With the most stupid face on, she said, “oh I’m sorry, do mind my manners. Come and join us.” It took me a while to process what she just said, a very long time. Yet no matter how many times I tried to give it a positive meaning it always pointed to the fact that she probably meant I go join them make out. I smiled and shook my head no before slipping into my slippers and asking them to excuse me. I admit that there was jealousy in each step I took but I tried not to let it ruin my day. “I miss my Jim.”

 

Lili came back looking fresh. By her reaction, I’m sure she totally expected to come back and find the place burned down. Instead she saw everything arranged and cleaned like she would have done it. “Yaaaay!” she exclaimed and hurried towards me. “This goes here!” she said playfully repositioning the ‘reserved’ indicator on the table. She gave me a ‘thank you’ hug and resumed her post behind the bar. Not too long after, the first set of customers came in and made their orders. All unaware of how much transformation is done every morning to get the place looking as neat as it is. Heck I bet most of them think malls and restaurants don’t get dirty because by the time they get there, the mess has already been cleaned.

 

“Good job Jim,” I congratulated myself.

“Good job Imani you just made yourself miss him more,” I scolded myself

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