The Inevitable Wait – A Short Story

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“How long should I wait?” – I asked

“Madam, it may take a minimum of 2 hours. But now it is way too crowded. So you may have to wait a bit longer. Please check after 3 hours!” – said the lady at the counter.

Waiting is something I dread the most and this must have been the worst of all!!! I mean, I have anxiously waited for the bundle of joy to step out from my tummy to this world for 9 long months. I have waited 6 long years before I could marry my college sweetheart. I have waited 19 long years to find that first love of my life! Ok, I cheated on that one!!! My 2nd or 3rd, you could say, since my first two loves were the chocolate heroes of the time 😀

Looking back at the mobile, I still have an hour and fifty-five minutes before I can go back to check on the results. I laughed at myself wondering when I stopped wearing the watch! There was a time when I dearly held on to my watch, every time I stepped out of my house. Of late, I rarely step out of the house and the watch had become even more obsolete! My mobile had become my best companion of the recent times. It never talked back, only demanded some power, that too at times when there was no other way!!! It connected me to so many of my ‘friends’ around the world, yet my family hated it the most. They said it disconnected me from them!!!

Well, I don’t want to get into an argument. Not at this time, for sure.

I checked back on my mobile. I had already switched off my data. I wanted the power to last till I reached back home. So silly of me to have left my charger back home when I knew I may need it anytime. I use my mobile so much, for work and for connecting with friends!!! I still had to wait for an hour and forty-five minutes. Time flies they say! Well, my time is somehow slower that the snail. Is it only for me that time has sort of frozen?

I looked around. Some people were hurrying from one part of the building to the other. Some were dozing off, having been waiting for long! Even I thought for a second; why not catch some good old sleep? But then, my anxiety never let me even close my eyes, forget about sleeping!!!

I should have brought one of my books, waiting for long since I bought them and stashed in the bookshelf. It probably runs in the family – buying things in anticipation of using them much later! I remember, my grandpa had a huge collection of books that filled so many cupboards in the house. I had rarely seen him read many of them. I too love to collect books and I order them online, especially when they come in a good deal 😉 Sometimes, by the time I read the book, I would have read its reviews online and lose interest. Sometimes, I read them so many months later that I completely get clueless on what made me order that book in the first place!!! I still have a few very popular books on my shelf that failed to capture my attention for long.

I looked back at my mobile. Another hour and a half to go! It was lunch time and most of the people sitting around me had already left to the canteen to munch on some lunch. I did not feel hungry at all. I never liked the canteen food, never the conventional lunch!!! I preferred to munch on some snacks that tasted better and took hardly a few minutes to finish. What would I do with that extra time I gained? That’s the beauty, NOTHING!!! In fact, there was so much time I always seem to find that I hated these long days. I was the happiest when I did not have time at all. I was the happiest when I was very busy. Even when I could not find time to drink some water, I was happy to be busy! I was happy not to be wasting any time. In fact, I loved to keep myself so busy that I fell asleep the moment I hit the bed.

I stopped thinking for a moment. I always did this! Went overboard the moment I got a minute free. That’s one of the reasons I hated free time. I just could not control my wanderlust mind. The moment it gets free, it starts wandering off; sometimes to places I never want to peek back into!

An hour more to go! I just couldn’t wait anymore. The optimist in me kept urging me to check on them, just in case, I was lucky today! And I gave in, knowing that it is way too early to check, I went back.

“Is it done? Can I have the report?” – I asked, trying hard to fake a smile.

“What’s the number ma’am? Let me check” – said another lady who had just joined the shift.

I happily gave her the number and eagerly waited till she checked the monitor.

“Ma’am it will take another 2 hours. Sorry, but we are quite crowded today and cannot hurry on such things.” – the lady replied with a smile.

I knew this is exactly what was expected. But I cursed them under my breath for being ‘so crowded’ on exactly this day! I hated to wait, especially with nothing to do as I had to wait. That’s the single reason I postponed this appointment for over a month.

The phone buzzed. My husband on the other side – “What happened? Did you see the doctor? What did she say?” As if I had come for a pregnancy test or checkup! But I knew that he was quite anxious. In fact, he was already a nervous wreck having some clue about what could the result be! He knew he won’t be able to handle it if at all it came out positive! That’s one reason he managed to escape from having to take me to the doctor. I was also happy that I was left alone to handle as I was used to handling things alone better.

“Nothing! As usual, some routine tests! I am waiting for the results.” – I told calmly. He could guess that I was totally irritated at having lost an entire day at the hospital.

“What test? When will you get it?” – asked my husband

“Some routine tests. You anyway have no clue right? Another couple of hours is what they say!!!” – I had started losing my cool. As such, I was fed up of this waiting. His anxiety added to my irritation! Anyway, I managed to tell him that I would call back as soon as I got them.

I knew that he would call back in another 30 minutes. If not, he would get my mom to call me! I even thought of switching off my mobile for a while. But what else would I do?!! I managed to find a charger station in the vast hospital complex. It was quite crowded, almost every day! I have always felt that hospitals really made a good business. Well, they are always crowded and none of the patients try to bargain. In fact, they offer to pay more for better treatment whether they can afford it or not. And it’s called a service.

I switched on my data as I connected my device to a compatible charger I found on the charger station. This was quite new. Last time I visited, a few weeks back, I never noticed it! Anyway, I was happy to finally find one and connect to my friends. The moment I switched on my data, the WhatsApp messenger got flooded with messages in all my groups. I was always connected to friends from school to my current groups at work and some local groups through WhatsApp and social media. My family hated me for staying online for most of the time. But I was online officially and personally, and that justified my being online. Anyway, I never bothered much about those grudges as I found it justified. I was never afraid of criticism and wouldn’t miss an opportunity to connect.

My work always required me to stay online most part of the day and being a freelancer, I used my social media, WhatsApp and a host of other mobile apps to stay connected to work and friends. So I am at work most of the time online and steal a little while to catch up with friends to keep myself going sane. It is a great breather for me, my old friends at school and work. They keep my mind fresh and live which let met work with a sane mind.

I glanced at the time again. Another hour to go! I decided to check on it in another ten minutes. This time I decided to stay back near the lab to make sure I knew it the moment the results are out. I couldn’t wait anymore. I had already wasted more than half a day at the hospital, skipped my lunch and still waiting to know what’s keeping me coming back here so often. I had never been hospitalized till my delivery and after that, I have been visiting the hospital on and off, if not for myself, for my kid! Whatever be the reason, I always found this place very boring. Having to always wait – to see the doctor, to get the results, to get the medicines! And I hate to wait.

My mobile had charged up decently and I unplugged and took my bag to check the results again. The lady received me with a smile as she had seen me pacing up and down, irritated to the core, having to wait so long! She took the number again and checked. This time, she took a detailed look at the tests and smiled back asking me to wait right in front. That actually got me a little nervous! Is that it? Is it out? Has my result let the devil out this time?

She made a call to check by when the results would be updated. I listened eagerly. So it’s out, isn’t it? It is only a matter of time before I get to know it. It is only a matter of time before the doctor confirms it! It is only a matter of time before the whole world turns upside down! Wasn’t I waiting for it to happen?

“Ma’am, you can see the doctor. She will get the result directly.” – she told me with a pale smile. I got even more nervous. In fact, I felt a little lighter this time. I faked a smile and sat down pretending to check on something from my bag. Actually, I was not sure my legs would carry my entire weight till I reach the doctor’s room! But I managed, somehow.

I had to wait again, the goddamn wait!!! In another 5 minutes, which felt like another hour, I was called in. I had already switched off my mobile so that I won’t have to answer questions till I knew them clearly. The doctor received me with a smile. Did she fake it too? Somehow, I felt everyone around me was trying to be a little extra helpful this time around. That made me a little more nervous. I tried to act calm, but the doctor could see my pale face and figure it out. After all, they may be used to all this!

“Let me check your results!” – my doctor told. It was just a way to initiate the matter, I knew it. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have called me in without checking on the result, right? Anyway, she seemed to glance through the results that showed up on her screen. I could see the screen myself. But goddamn my eyes, I couldn’t see anything clearly without my specs and I had left them home too!!!

“You results seem OK to me.” – She started

“But how come? I mean, then, what else is going wrong with me?” – I was totally lost! I didn’t want to wait any longer to hear anything more.

“Well, it’s actually this way. We also had a doubt, that’s why we decided to rule out these matters first. The results seem OK only. You may have to go through a few more tests. This time, you can leave the specimen behind and come back after a week. It takes a while, you see! It may not be what we fear. But we have to rule it out for sure. Just to be on the safer side!” – The doctor showed some compassion this time. Did she seem nervous too? Or was it just what I felt?

I managed to nod and took her test prescription. I took a picture of it as I walked slowly to the lab so that I could Google them up later. But I cursed Google too! Why does it give false hope every time I search? This time too, I had spent some time searching for the probable results of the new tests and it told me that it was no good sign. But apparently, the doctor feels it is not as bad. I took a quick glance at the copy of the report she handed over. Did it have any warning? Well, I could not make out much and noted in my mind to search the entire wordings later.

At the lab, I paid for the tests and gave away at least half a litre of whatever blood was left in my body. They say I am anaemic! Well, sometimes I even doubt if the laboratories have a tie-up with Dracula! They draw so much blood every time!!! And with so many patients, Dracula can enjoy a variety buffet dinner every night 😉

I was in the cab, heading towards home and before I could search what the report said, I got that inevitable call. “Did the reports come? Everything fine?” my husband’s voice anxiously asked on the other end. I told him I was on my way back and would explain everything in detail. But when he insisted on knowing what the doctor told, I told, everything was fine. That let me cut that call and concentrate on my Google search. If not for Google, I would have died of anxiety long back!!!

Google is quite reassuring! It still says it’s no good sign. By now, I have realized that Google is simply exaggerating my reports and has no clue what my doctor thinks of the same report. The doctor seems to be fine with the very same report that Google says is a definite red flag! I got confused and decided instead to search for the newest tests prescribed. I wanted to know what they get to know from half a liter of blood!

By the time I reached home, I had a fresh set of conclusions and anticipations to concentrate on leaving behind the ill-fated report. I geared up to explain what happened at the hospital sans my Googling and finding out! I had to make sure I did not mess up the whole thing by adding my Google knowledge with what the doctor said, even if both were on two poles. I sometimes wondered if I should suggest the doctor to Google the results before she drew a conclusion!

After the detailed question-answer session I was back to my lovely computer and Google researching further on permutations and combinations of the available results and the newest tests prescribed. Google definitely increased my anticipations, as it did every time. So I waited again until the next results came out.

(Please don’t start imagining! This is 99% fiction given some personal touch. 😀 )

PC: http://www.pixabay.com

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I am a teacher turned software developer turned full time mom turned entrepreneur turned writer! I have enjoyed all these avtars in my life to the fullest. I am on my journey to explore a lot more about writing! Follow me to read more of what I write..

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Posted in Personal, Short Stories - Fiction

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