The waiting

I sweated up the three flights of stairs in the old medical clinic and slipped into the waiting room. I immediately leaned back against the door. I wasn’t tired but the sheer number of people sitting there made me want to back up. My GP must be close to retiring but the demand, well the demand is pressing on a man who takes his profession seriously.
No seats left: I was the third man standing.
I didn’t want to push through the knees of the lucky sitters to get at the magazines so I kept my claim on the door. Not much in the way of a barricade but I would do my best. I looked at the others and those who didn’t have their own ancient issues looked back. There was disdain in more than one pair of eyes. They were the queued. It was the traditional welcome for the late comer.
“Terry!” My GP’s wife had been his receptionist for years.
“Hi! You’ve got a full house here!”
She rolls her eyes. “Oh yes. And some of these people are actually in NEED of care, too!” Her stressed words seemed to make some of the disdainful and even a few of the reading eyes look down. “It’s good to see you, though!”
“You too!”
“We’re running a little late but I’m sure you will be able to see him soon.”
“No trouble.”
But I was lying. I wanted out of the waiting room. I fought down a sudden feeling of claustrophobia although I had just arrived. I had no right really. Back to staring I saw some eyes were a little more curious now. One pair belonged to a small boy with a bandaged arm. He stared at me like he had never seen anyone like me before. He probably hadn’t.
I reached into my backpack but maintained eye contact with him and my face gave nothing away. My big hands easily hid what I had pulled out and that was part of my act. I moved my hands out in the boy’s general direction, hiding their contents. The boy’s stare was now rapidly moving back and forth from my eyes to my hands. He couldn’t help himself. I took a small step forward and went down on my haunches very slowly. Many eyes were on me now. The boy’s mother’s hand circled a little more around the boy’s chest. But it was only a light touch as if she didn’t want to deny the boy in his discomfort. But she was too late. I had him now.
I slowly parted the last fingers on my left hand to reveal some colour. The boy’s eyes were riveted. With a quick flick I turned it up revealing a bright red, yellow and blue ball. I turned over the right showing two more.
The boy’s mouth parted and a small pent up breath escaped. The mother had a smile on her face now.
I tossed a ball from my right to the left and caught it. Then I tossed one back to the right. I said nothing. I was the essential deadpan but the boy was beaming. I began to juggle lazily. Tossing each ball high and waiting until the released ball was almost in my hand before I sent the other up. He laughed.
My arc slowly descended and I was juggling faster and faster. Then I changed the pattern so that one ball was always on the outside and the other two in.
The boy liked that and so I gave to expand that arc upwards. His hand and his other bandaged hand moved up and down trying to copy my hands.
Suddenly the door to the hallway opened and I barely caught the balls as I quickly hopped forward.
We all stared all the new comer. The interloper. She was trespassing into OUR waiting room.


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