Waiting for Him (Prose)

He glanced again down at the Rolex on his wrist and then at the folded memo he held. Waiting made time move so slowly. His sunglasses darkened the surface of each almost to obscurity but he didn’t remove them. The tarmac below him and the blazing sun overhead were making a shimmering mirage out of his surroundings. Besides, it really didn’t matter at this point what time it was now or what the schedule purported. The plane would arrive when it arrived.

He had known it was going to be this hot. He normally wore one of his other suits, one that breathed a bit better, when it was meant to be this warm. But today was a different passenger than normal. Different than ever before, in fact. He rolled his shoulders ever so slightly, trying in vain to shift the silk a bit. And then remained still, eyes sweeping the western horizon from behind his glasses.

The man Ozuma waited for had not sent ahead a party like most ambassadors. His secretary had called Ozuma’s superior, Imedi Awadesu, the consulate’s chief of staff, six days ago out of the blue. Awadesu had almost hung up on him, thinking it was a joke. But the secretary shared the appropriate security credentials and an (albeit vague) official reason for the requested visit. Awadesu didn’t want to offend, and suspected this might be some form of test or trickery. He agreed to host the ambassador. Daniel Ozuma, one of his ambitious junior employees that seemed slightly more trustworthy than most others in the consulate, was tapped to make all appropriate arrangements.

Ozuma’s eyes caught the hazy pinprick of an approaching plane and he felt his pulse immediately quicken. He had heard shouting from Awadesu’s office yesterday – Awadesu had been on the phone with someone from a different region using a tribal dialect. Most in the consulate wouldn’t have spoken it, but Ozuma happened to know some of it because of some distant relatives from that area. He didn’t catch everything, but understood enough to know that the ambassador now approaching in the distance was powerful. And was putting many in the country on edge. Ozuma had never before heard fear in Awadesu’s voice. But whoever this man was, he carried authority. Ozuma hadn’t caught enough of the conversation to know how much or why.

Ozuma glanced at the group of several other consulate staff who made up the welcome party. They loitered in the shade of one of the hangars perhaps 200 feet away. He watched them for a moment. Their eyes were sharp, wary, conniving. Their lips pursed or open in slander. Change might be too much to hope for. But Ozuma felt his pulse quicken a bit more all the same at the idea.

-LS

Original idea: A long-awaited encounter/meeting – wondering if this person is all they’ve been purported to be. Discuss the relationship; the expectation; the moment; and whether expectation is realized?

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