The Waiting Room

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End of The Line

A scream meets me as I re-enter the land of the living. It’s the sound of joy, excitement of never ending pain coming to a full stop. It’s my mother’s relief.

The whole room is white. Not really a room, no familiarity markings, no homely comforts. It’s a cubicle. The walls are white, not wall papered walls but roll on thick, wipe clean paint.

No petals here are falling to land on snow.

I try to blink my eyes, sleep has formed a crust on the outer part of my left eye. I blink again to clear the glue like substance as a noise takes my first conscious thinking, crying. I quickly scan the room from my pillow. My head is slightly raised from the bed but I can’t see below the bed frame.

I notice it’s not only Susan crying, but her mother too, and my mother. She makes no noise but the tears stream from her eyes, her mouth is smiling in relief.

I remember where I was less than a moment ago. Dead people occupied my mind. They were happy, content. They were smiling. The sun hadn’t been shining or maybe it had been all I could see was white. Maybe the sun was white from where I came from.

Now on earth, these people are alive and they are crying.

No golden rays of sunshine penetrate our white cube. There is no window. I’m aware of something across my mouth, tight against my cheeks. I slowly reach up to touch a mask, helping me breathe. Susan takes my hand and kisses it.

My mother steps forward to the left hand side of the bed. Susan is opposite her. Susan’s mother is stood at the foot of the bed.

I hear a whimpering. Susan turns to crouch down and pick up Jessie, our daughter. She rests her on her mother’s lap. I search for Thomas. My neck hurts as I try to lift my head. I don’t see him and start to panic.

I look at Susan, “Thomas?” I mutter through the mask.

“He’s ok,” she whispers with a smile “Not a scratch.”

My mother holds up my hand. She squeezes it, not looking at me.

“Thomas,” she whispers and rolls hers eyes towards the ceiling. A single tear rolls down her check and drops on to the bed.

I squeeze her hand with the little energy I have. Our eyes meet and she smiles at me.

Her son.

A man in white comes in to interrupt our mood. He has white hair, I recognise him from when I bought Thomas, my Thomas, my son, in for a check up three years ago.

He has young eyes, laughing eyes with crow’s feet. His hair is balding. He talks and although I don’t hear, I recognise the voice. I suddenly relax, completely relax, not a care in the world, relax a weight lifted, a needle injected.

I’m asleep.

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