I tried my best to look nervous.
That was how the rest of them look, so I should try and fit in, I thought.
The waiting room was cold, like the frozen food section of the grocery store. "Shit." I muttered, a little too loud for the sanctity of the room. Everyone turned to glare at me, broken from their private spell of terror. How dare I, they seemed to say. Here I was, forgetting about grocery shopping when I should be focused on the matter at hand.
So I did the only thing I could do; shut up and look around. The walls of the waiting room were painted a dull pink and covered with motivational posters. From every angle a fuzzy animal stared at me in some sugary sweet, "am I not I adorable?" pose. As if all the problems of the world could be solved by uplifting baby animals.
No, furry orange kitten, I thought. I will not "hang in there" I am going to sit in this pastel meat locker and watch the clock spin. I am going to watch the husbands cradle their sick wives, wives hold the hands of their sick husbands, and the sick single mother cough into her sleeve while junior plays with a stuffed blue elephant.
But even that seems to be too much to ask for; as if on cue, my phone rang from my purse. I blushed deeply, feeling eyes on me again. The phone kept ringing and ringing, lost in the abyss of my bag. Just as I had hold of it, it gave the final beeps of a missed call. Sighing, I touched the screen to see the latest emergency.
The call had been from my assistant, so of course it just could not wait the five seconds it would take to return the call, much less finish my appointment. Instead the phone gave a different set of beeps -- text message this time -- for me to answer.
You have a meeting with the board at three, and your dinner reservations have been moved from seven-thirty to six. Emailing you the directions now.
I had scarcely finished reading before the phone lit up again with the email icon; an envelope zipping around the Earth.
Hm, I thought, What a familiar feeling. Rushing around the world in an instant, only stopping at the touch of someone else.
I sighed again, trying to shake the thought of movement. Of course, shaking in itself, mental or no, only made me more nauseous. I looked enviously at the young mother. At first she looked very typical of stolen innocence, all scared and tired. But a closer look showed her expensive hair colorings, the professional touch of her manicure. No, this girl was once quite the pampered pet. Shame her priviledged life was in so much jeopardy now, but at least the kid would have someone.
It is not like I resent my kids, I love them.
They are just so demanding. Always needing, needing, needing. I had waited to do the whole family thing, set that my career would could first. But now in my late forties -- thirty-five if we met in the last twenty years -- what was the point?
As I watched the clock move along, I felt as if each tick was a second I should have spent doing something... more profound? The past half century seemed to be a series of useless goals, things I was programmed to want. Now sitting here, waiting for my named to be called, all I can think is...
"I hope it turns out to be cancer, so I will finally have an excuse to slow down."