He arrived at the crowded waiting area. They as employees had their own officer assigned to them to review their visa applications. His turn would come shortly. He took a seat and grabbed that week’s issue of the Times as it lay on the table. He had briskly walked through that room at least a hundred times yet he had never noticed it like he did today. It’s funny how similar the décor of the embassy was to that of offices in his career long gone. The walls had the same whitewashed quality that hospital walls had. The furniture was elegant and functional but not necessarily comfortable. It was designed to aid speedy turnover. In one corner of the room was a round information desk embellished with the American eagle and with an actual size flag standing besides it. The red, white and blue that seemed to be the decorating theme for US embassies worldwide stared back at him from the tiniest details scattered around the room and the US national anthem played almost inaudibly in the background.
The hands on his watch went tick-tock in seeming slow motion. He shook his feet and wrung his hands.
She twirled and fretted with her CV and stared at the ceiling and her feet in alteration.
She crossed and uncrossed her arms and legs; she looked around occasionally smiling at passer byes.
He couldn’t believe how nervous he was, he kept reviewing the application details in his head, wondering what they would ask him about.
Every time someone passed by the glass wall she looked up alert and hopeful that this was the person in question, only to be disappointed as they glided past her.
She observed the people leaving the room with mixed reactions; they had been instructed not to speak to the applicants and to leave immediately.
Time passes like a snail with no incentive to move between points a and b.
“Please God grant me patience and render me victorious.”
Takes phone out, looks at screen, throws phone back.
Tick tock tick tock.
“Plasma screens on the wall have been playing the same advertisement for 10 minutes straight.”
Roll document… unroll document.
Takes phone out puts it on silent.
Taps feet to music playing inside the applicant’s head.
“Remember to breathe, breathe in, hold it, now slowly breathe out.”
Starting to sweat it out.
“It’s getting mighty hot in here.”
Rethinks it, takes phone out and switches it off entirely.
Looks up, asks inquiringly and gets denied.
Stares at watch.
Messes with hair.