The woman with one breast is friendly
She jokes about feeling lighter
We nod grimly
Palpable energy shift from 20 year old gamer wearing graffiti hi-tops, and 60 year old with deflation in her eyes
The ravage of time and effect, painted on women of different shapes, scars like badges of honor except when they’re not
The old lady is marked by a blue gown to our uniform pink
She exudes weariment without lifting her head from its downcast slump
Her limbs look like they have been pickled and left in hot Texan sun
She has an old ring on her wedding finger
I want to say something
But the lump in my throat and her shuttered aspect stay my hand
Instead I nod to the New Yorker and tell her there’s a free seat
Nobody really wants to sit
They want to run
Be anywhere else
“I miss the days they just told you that you could go“
Says the tall woman with a burgundy hair band
The woman cooked in black garb might belong to a cult
She had an accent and glowers
She says she drove from Eagle Pass because they don’t have good medicine there
Simmering rage in her balled lacquered fists
The hiss of some impossibly expensive machine out of sight
everyone meets eyes over masks, the unsaid being
Is this good medicine?
We play occidental musical chairs
The magazines are gone because of the virus, we hide our faces behind our fabric hoping for modesty that has long fled
Nurses walk their daily steps in the shiny lino corridor, their hair gleams like peacock feathers, they are harried but kind eyed
I get a young woman tech who has quiet jazz
She talks of wanting children. Her brother is sterile. She’s afraid to get tested.
I urge her to try. Thinking of how not long ago I stood in her slightly less comfortable shoes
Imaging a future
How they unfurl and then dry up and close, ready for the rush hour drive back
Mascara lines running like train tracks on masks of horror
A scrawny woman with platinum hair asked me how to do something on her phone
etiquette is said to save us
Not in the time of Covid, I think
A high school had blossomed in the pit of the waiting room
Some have been here two hours
They divide solemnly into temporary allegiances
Some like the loud mouth
Others roll at the waiting and click their dry tongues
It reminds me of paper flowers put in water
Her grandchildren are visiting. The mute girl in the corner looks young enough to be one
I ache for her fledgling fear
None of us are safe
From the words
“Come and discuss your findings with the specialist“
14 thoughts on “Notes of a common waiting room”
I can feel myself
Sitting there, excellent weaving. Glad your back.
I know this feeling all too well and any of us who get our exams annually know that this feeling arises every single year. This is such a poignant piece, Candice. I felt as though I was right there throughout each stanza. This is flawless writing.
In my medical adventures of the past several years there were waiting rooms. Some were crowded, some were sparse, and in some I was alone. Even in the Before, before the virus came, in the sparse ones “social distance” was already the custom. Nobody asks, “What are you in for?”, at least, not out loud. It’s not that sort of jail. The judges wear gowns or lab coats, or now, PPEs, not robes.
Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
TheFeatheredSleep – With judgements pending
Your waiting room interpretations are vividly relatable Candice.. 😎😊
Goodness. This is excellent. I was there with them all.
Such a sensitive post
The great thing about America is you do not need to wait as long as countries with socialized healthcare BUT of course that’s a double edged sword with the solution being in the middle.
Thank you so very, very much Tre, that fattened my head for the day without DOUBT coming from you. A woman I admire through and through.
Trying to be ! 😉 Thank you dear one xo
You’re most welcome!
You’re welcome. 🙂🌻
The solutions to “either this or that” dilemmas usually are in the excluded middle of “a bit of this and a bit of that”.
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