I sit in hospital and doctor’s waiting rooms. Most of the time they don’t even notice me. Too many other people waiting to get blood or urine samples, root canals, colonoscopies, chemotherapy, x-rays, glaucoma tests, MRI’s, wart removals or pre-cancerous skin burnings. I wait for someone to sit next to me. I let them strike up a conversation. Something banal about the weather or how much longer they are going to have to wait. I nod, agree, flip through magazines if they have any. Thing is, I have a knack for riding out time insulated by the worries and trauma of strangers. Their faces are twitching, furrowed racks of pain. The blood inside them is moving much quicker than mine. They sigh a lot and tap feet, scratch unknown itches, cough that dry socket kind of cough, sniffle, blow their noses and fill out forms. I am not beholden to anyone. No clock or watch frightens me. I do not have to be anywhere so I sit with the rest of them. I believe I radiate some comfort their way. Someone they can talk to or remain silent with, but not alone. There are no restrictions with me. I’m neither manic nor depressive. I just am. I’m sure I will develop some sort of tumor, toothache or bowel obstruction at some point. I mean everybody does, right? And when I do, all will be as it should. I’ll be sitting patiently in someone’s waiting room, maybe staring at a magazine listening to someone’s chronic story of pain or maybe telling my own.
Did You Ask What I Did For A Living? by Meg Tuite