Written by Jennifer Azubuike
“How long will it take?” Nina asked the young lady who just took her order.
“About five minutes.” She replied with a smirk. Nina got the cue that she wanted her to step aside for the next customer, so she left the queue and walked to one of the empty chairs to sit. There was already a long line of people waiting to give orders or pick up whatever they ordered.
“Thank God it’s just coffee.” She sighed. Almost immediately a male voice started yelling at another man in front of him in the queue.
“Dude, that’s rude! You cannot cut in line like that!”
The guy being yelled at seemed completely oblivious to his angry counterpart who continued to rant and cause a scene. The angry man, probably frustrated that the offender is ignoring him, shoved the nonchalant guy. He turned around and faced him but was still not saying a word. His composure was as serene as a calm river on a Spring morning only looking surprised. Suddenly, Nina understood. She typically would not intervene in a fight involving strangers especially on a notorious street like Castro, but something moved her. As she rose to her feet, she heard her name. It was the waiter calling. She walked towards the counter instead to pick up her cup of coffee, but on her way out, she stopped in front of the party and turned towards the angry man whose wrath was beginning to lose steam.
“Sorry sir, but I had hoped you’d notice that the man you are yelling at is deaf.” Nina’s words caused a sudden hush. She stepped out of the store without another word.
Outside the cafe, she walked briskly to her car parked among other cars lining the side of the road bumper to bumper on either side. It was just as rowdy on the street as it was inside the cafe. Moving cars, motorbikes and bicycles struggled for the space left on the road while a flood of pedestrians avoided bumping into each other as they streamed up and down the walkway and in and out of stores.
Just as she got closer to her car a driver honked repeatedly. At first, Nina thought she was in the way of a car but when she looked up, the blasting horn was directed at another driver parallel parking into a spot. Almost immediately, this honking driver wound down his window and started raining curses and making foul gestures. Nina shook her head and got in her car. Anyone who has tried parking on a congested city street should know that parallel parking takes a few turns and a few minutes, so why the aggression? But just then her phone rang.
“You were supposed to change the engine oil, not the car engine. What’s taking you so long?” Her dad bellowed on the other end of the call.
“Sorry Pa, the shop was low on technicians today, so the wait time was longer.”
“Well, hurry up and get here. I don’t want to be late.”
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Nina replied before he hung up. She sighed.
Fifteen minutes later, she drove up in front of their house. Her dad was already standing at the door with his briefcase. He started walking towards her the moment she pulled up, but mom came running behind him.
“Dan, wait, you left these papers on the table, and they look important.” She passed some papers to dad.
“Yea, I don’t need them. I left them on purpose.” He handed them back.
“Are you sure you have everything you need?”
“I do.” He replied impatiently and started again towards the car, but his wife stopped him.
“You should go over those papers again to make sure you have everything. You know how important this deal is.”
“Give it a rest. You think I don’t know? I have been working on this proposal for weeks and poured over it last night. I have everything I need.” He yelled at his wife and left her looking dejected while he matched towards the car.
Nina observed the interaction between her parents and shook her head again. Her dad got in the car, and she drove him to the office where he was to present his business proposal to some high-profile business moguls. The meeting will make a difference in whether dad’s business expands or closes down. After several applications, it was a miracle that dad was enlisted to vie for a contract.
Nina was waiting in the office lobby when a text from her dad popped in. “Hey, I will be out in five minutes.” She got into the car and started the engine as soon she saw her dad approaching.
“Well?” Nina gazed at him expectantly when he entered.
“I think I lost it.”
“They loved my presentation and my business plan seemed to have impressed them, but I didn’t have my resume when they asked for it.”
“Oh no! Is it at home? Can I go get it?”
“It is no use. There are too many competitions. They have moved on to someone else.”
“But mom said…”
“I know what your mom said, and I regret not listening.” He said and buried his head in his hands. “I am a businessman. What do they need my resume for anyway?”
“Will you be okay?” Nina was worried, but he did not reply to her. “Dad. I don’t think it is you, it must be something in the air.”
“What does that mean?” He looked up at his daughter puzzled.
“Everywhere I turn people seem intolerant of someone or something. As if something is making everyone on edge.”
“Have I been on edge?”
“A little, but it is not your fault.”
Her father sighed. “Nini, I get it. You don’t have to be polite.”
“But it is not your fault…”
“Honey, if everyone else is on edge, I ought to know better. Besides, I have taught at devotion several times that patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that every Christian should have yet I don’t exemplify it. I am sorry for yelling at you today.”
“It’s alright, dad. I understand how this was important to you.”
“Yes, still I didn’t have to be churlish. Again, I am sorry. Here, let me drive us home. I need to talk to my wife.”
He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, he who rules his [own] spirit than he who takes a city. Proverb 16 vs 32
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