The machine plinged its gentle welcome, telling me appointments were running late. I wasn’t too concerned about the wait, in fact, as plump, chintzy arms folded around me, it was good to relax.
A pale sunshine was filtering in, throwing spotlights on an array of brightly lettered posters, which immediately took my eye. Looking about, I caught nods and smiles from fellow patients and their murmured conversations washed around like the drone of friendly insects.
A hint of lavender polish came to me in the air, where dust motes danced and I had trouble staying awake until a familiar face peeped round the door to invite me in.
Waiting Room 2
The call came at about 4.30 – an anonymous voice summoning me to present myself at the clinic, once more. As I step in, automatic doors hiss stealthily behind me, cutting off all thought of escape. I tiptoe onwards to the waiting area, across scuffed flooring, only to be met by a row of grim souls, whose eyes I’d rather not meet. So, the best I can do is perch on the edge of a corner seat, as far away as possible from the obligatory squawking child.
There’s little joy to be had in the posters of Doom glaring down at me, nor even in the pile of smelly magazines, carelessly heaped on a dusty table. A late sun, struggling in, shows up windows in dire need of cleaning. No wonder the obligatory potted palm looks past resuscitation.
A door is flung open and my name barked. Well, at least it is escape of sorts.