WAITING There is a familiar kind of buzz present in every waiting room. It is barely audible, yet always present. The clicks and clacks of receptionists at their laptops, the turning of magazine pages that no one really reads, the coughs that fill the little silence that exists, the clock ticking, a baby crying, a toddler nagging, a child whining—all swarming together in a noise so haunting you want to run. I feel my shirt dampening, and look around the room, waiting. Waiting Room, I read on the door. What a terrible name for a room. There are so many things in life to wait for. The seconds before a ball swooshes elegantly through nothing but net. A hot bowl of pasta after an intense workout. Air flooding your lungs and easing the burning when you surface after a dive. Sleep to come, when you lie in bed at night, contemplating yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Death to lead you away when you’re old and decrepit. So much of life is a wait. It’s like breathing, something you must do—waiting. “Remy?” I flinched, letting the tall ginger woman with glasses know it was me. “You’re up. So first let me just get your height and weight over here.” I slipped off my shoes. “Yup, that’s right.” I looked ahead as the electronic scale narrowed in on my weight. The wall was a dull off-white with a texture like someone had splatter-painted it. “All right, one-thirty-eight-point-three. Now if I can get you to flip around for me for your height. Yup, and stand up straight.” I did but it didn’t make me feel any taller. “Okay, five-seven. Now if you’ll follow me into 5C, I’ll get your blood pressure.” In 5C I pulled up my sleeve and she wrapped the scratchy cuff around my arm; I felt the pressure build, squeezing and entrapping my arm. She kept pumping and pumping and I watched the little pointer on the dial move higher and higher and higher, waiting, and finally she released it. “One-sixty over one-oh-five,” she said. “That’s not too terrible, but not where we want it.” Her
Art and literary journal of University of Jamestown, Jamestown, N.D.