“Five minutes.” He says and turns his back on me.
I watch, longing for the seconds to sprint, looking forward to the end when he returns as promised. As though in slow motion, he walks away, smiling as he passes a woman in a black dress, her eyes bright with joy, her hands cradling her phone. Clearly, she’s received good news, and he’s happy for her, even though it's momentary and she’s just a passing cloud in his long and winding day.
He likes it here. I can tell by the way he leans over a ten-year-old a little further on his path, stopping to show the kid a cool gimmick the boy hasn’t discovered yet. The young face beams, flashes a neat row converging in two big, flat Bugs Bunny teeth.
“Thank you!” He squeals, and my man, the charming, helpful know-it-all trouble shooter, calls for a high five. The child enthusiastically delivers.
I glance at my watch and groan. Just over half a minute.
“Breathe in, breath out”—I remind myself from my meditation lessons. Regretting the effort and money as the advice does nothing to speed up time.
I look around, and wonder for who else he stops to assist. I suppress a giggle—crazy man. Can’t help but be of help. It takes a special kind of stupidity and inane bravado to do what he does.
I don’t see him anymore. And my heart leaps, does a tango within its cage—almost there. I heave; relief creeps through my veins. Now all he has to do is to come back to me without getting distracted on the way.
One minute and fifteen seconds.
On the other side of the room, a tall teenager in tights and a crop top grabs her slinging handbag. Digs into it with a pained face, biting her lower lip all the while. “Phew!” She blows out inaudibly, fishing out her lipstick, and refreshes her already overly red lips.
I try not to roll my eyes, but fail. And I hate myself immediately. So what if she smears an abundance of chemicals on her face? It’s her body and she has every right. You go, girl—paint the town red.
Three minutes. Damn.
Forcibly, I turn away from red lips, focusing, instead, on the balding middle-aged black man. He leans on a table. A blond girl beside him waves animatedly at another blue-clad man. Mr Bald, uninterested in her tales, shoots dagger glances at the lanky, pale man to his left, who with a bowed head whispers into his phone.
“Here you go, miss!”
I jump. My genius man. In his extended hand, snug is my new treasure. I unbox it and run my fingers through the silver lining—so perfect. Who would’ve thought replacing an iPhone would be so nerve-wracking?
Narmadhaa has self-published a haiku collection on Amazon and short stories on Inkitt.com Her poetry has also appeared in publications like Pure Haiku, Elephants Never, and From the Ashes. Narmadhaa enjoys writing creative musings at The Chaos Within. Twitter: @s_narmadhaa