It was the day of love — Valentine’s Day. It was business as usual for me at Johnson Restaurant, where I work as a waiter. Johnson Restaurant was situated on the outskirts of Ibadan, one of the largest cities in Africa. Apart from its catering services, Johnson Restaurant boasts of entertainment services with the presence of a Swimming pool and a viewing center where people watch various sports including Football, Basketball and Tennis.
We were in our work uniforms- the white long sleeve shirts, a black jacket worn above black trousers and well polished black shoes. It was going to be a long day.
As we expected, people started flocking in their numbers. There were couples coming for the first time. Couples, families that may not come again in a long time were seen making their way to the restaurant. It was Valentine’s day? Wasn’t it?
“Waiter” a man called, “Menu please”.
I handed the menu to him. He looked like a man in his early thirties or late twenties. He sat at a table with three young ladies. The three ladies were dressed in stylish outfits that revealed the upper part of their bosoms. He looked sternly at the menu and took a sneak peek at the three ladies seated, frowning.
“Hmm, give me a scoop of Ice Cream and a bottle of water”, he said, before passing the menu to one of the ladies. He looked worried, like someone about to go into surgery.
One of the ladies took a look at the menu, smiling;
“As for me, I want Jollof Rice, Salad and Fried Chicken. Also, add a bottle of 5 alive juice, chilled one”, she said, stylishly raising a hand that revealed her coloured fingernails. She passed the menu to the other ladies seated beside her.
“Get me Fried Rice, Roasted Chicken, Fried Plantain and a bottle of Mountain juice. Ensure it’s chilled”.
“Yes, ma”. “And you madam? What would you like to eat?” I asked the third lady before she was handed the menu.
I took a look at the young man at the table. He was nervous, with a bit of anger fuelling up inside him. Maybe the order was taking too long.
“Waiter…”, shouted the third lady, bringing me back from deep thoughts.
“Did you hear what I just said?”.
“Sorry ma’am. Can you please come again with your order”.
She looked at me, this time with a hard look, rolling her eyeballs multiple times at my shoes straight up to my hair.
“I said you should get me White Rice with Vegetable Oil stew, Fried Chicken, Plantain and Salad. Also, add a bottle of cold water and a bottle of Chilled Vanilla drink.”
“Alright, I will be back soon with all your orders”.
I got back after a while with the orders. While I was serving, one of the ladies seated held the young man’s hand saying, “Honey, you got the wrong plate”.
“Wow, are they lovers?”, I thought. “Who could the other ladies be?” Well, they could be family.
In the Johnson Restaurant, payment of meals comes after eating. The bill is brought to the table and the payment is at the counter, a spot closer to the exit door. The young man felt left out while the three ladies were laughing, gisting and eating. The ladies had no idea what trouble they were going to be in. They had no clue.
The young man made his way to the counter, swiftly. He was out of the restaurant while the ladies were seated, eating the meals they ordered. It wasn’t long after they finished their meals, they discovered the man was not in the restaurant. They looked around with anxiety. Reality had dawned on them- they were stuck in the Restaurant. One of the ladies picked up a phone to make a call. I was watching inquisitively to see how things will pan out for the ladies.
“Oh Yes”, I answered as I walked quickly to the table where I heard the call. It was a young couple.
“Good afternoon. Welcome to Johnson Restaurant” I said, smiling as I passed the menu to the man.
“Don’t bother. We just need two bottles of Mountain juice”.
“Alright, chilled or warm?”
“Make it chilled”, he said, grinning.
Serving two bottles of drinks with glass cups was never a tough task. You just need to be calm as you carry the tray with your palm slightly raised below your shoulder level before arranging the bottles and cups on the table. Shortly after, some police men were in the restaurant. They were directed to the Manager’s box which was upstairs.
“So strange”, I thought. I took a look at the table where the man and three ladies were seated. The plates were empty and the ladies were not there.
Shortly after, the ladies were escorted by the police men to the Police van that was outside the restaurant. Whenever something like that happens, it’s either a theft case or inability of customers to pay for the services they ordered for.
I went to the counter with the aim of knowing what had just happened. I got to know that the man paid for his bottle water and Ice cream before leaving the ladies in the Restaurant. Someone added that the man was angered by the decision of his partner to bring her friends along on Valentine’s day.
“Ladies should be considerate. Valentine’s Day should be between you and your lover and it should stay that way”, one of the waiters said.
“He was probably angry she brought her friends without his permission” he added.
“There is nothing wrong with paying for their meal”, a waitress replied.
“There’s nothing wrong. When you are having your Honeymoon, take your friends with you. Idiot”, the waiter answered sarcastically.
“Do you know how much he must have planned for the outing? For him to abandon her, it’s either he didn’t have enough money or the lady was fond of it so he decided to teach her a lesson” another waiter added.
“That’s a horrible way to teach your lover a lesson. You see..”
While they were exchanging words, there was a brief moment of commotion in the restaurant. Almost everyone surrounded a particular table. I managed to find my way towards the table by squeezing myself past some people.
There laid on the floor, a woman with a foaming mouth. Her face was familiar. She came together with the man that asked for two bottles of Mountain Juice. At that moment, he was nowhere to be found. Someone probably from the medical line bent down to take a look at the woman’s condition.
“This is poisoning”, he muttered.
“Someone call an ambulance, please”.
Timilehin Igeleke is a lover of Literature. He loves writing and reading literary works. His favourite genre is Fiction. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org