Sitting there, with so many people worrying about their own business, was kind of soothing to me. It’s an awful thing to say, but I’d rather have that than a place where everyone is clearly waiting to hear what’s up with you. In other contexts, where nothing is really happening, every single ear in the vicinity would hear a bomb like that. There too but no one would really care because they are waiting themselves for some words they hope they might be hearing and other they don’t want to hear at all.
I woke up very early that day and I have to say it was very strange to just stare at my own feet for several minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed, before I realized I wasn’t really doing anything and I needed to get going. I slowly dragged myself to the bathroom and had a shower, longer than those that I had daily. I wanted to make time feel longer, but when I put on my clothes and grabbed a glass of orange juice in the kitchen, I realized I hadn’t really spent much time and I would be getting early to work.
It has to be said: I hate my job and the people I talk to in it. I hate my boss and the girl who’s supposed to greet people in the reception. I really hate them all. It’s not just that I don’t like them but I actually hate them, because they always seem to want more information about me than what they tell me about them. They clearly just want to gossip and my boss only wants me as a mule, as a beast to use for work and nothing else. I don’t thank him for this job at all, none of them.
However, I need the money and no one else would hire me. So I go every single day to work, by bus, standing up and very rarely finding a seat before I reach my stop. That day I walked especially slowly in order to take my time to work. I managed to get there a little later than expected but still at least one hour before I was supposed to begin my work. I didn’t care. I turned on my computer as soon as I got in and started working right then, as I needed to make my lunchtime valuable.
I was happy when my stomach started growling, towards the middle of the day. It meant I was hungry, of course, but also that I hadn’t been interrupted by anyone all morning. Not a single stupid question or a greeting that had no real intention of being kind. Nothing at all for almost five hours and that was simply the best time I had ever had in that place. I was able to reach some clients, fixing some documents I had to correct and even do a couple of things ahead of time to free my schedule even more. Other would not appreciate that but I didn’t really care.
The moment people around me started talking louder and stood up to walk towards the elevators, I realized it was my time to run. I went down by foot, through the relative darkness of the stairs and I reached the main gate in a very short time. Luckily, the place I had to go to was nearby, only a couple of blocks away, so my time would be spent in the best way possible. My stomach growled the whole walk towards the clinic, but I ignored it by smiling at the beautiful weather.
The sun was very high up in the sky and there were a couple of fluffy white clouds there but nothing to prevent the sun from reaching all the people below that wanted that beautiful day to last forever. I was a bit sad to get to the clinic, a place that should’ve been a lot less dark than it was, but I decided to just grab my number and sit down as I waited. The place was not a real hospital or something like that. It was more like a center to get help, something much more informal.
That was a good thing because I had always hated the smell and the sounds of hospitals. They make my skin crawl. Maybe it’s because every time you’re in a hospital it’s because something wrong is happening with you or someone else. Not even the food is decent in a place like that. So I really don’t like those places. Burt that one was a lot warmer, both physically and in the décor. It wasn’t blue and white but orange and red and green and all sorts of other colors.
Maybe that’s because people with children tend to go there. I saw at least three very young mothers with their babies, waiting for their turn to speak with a counselor. It has to be said there were not that many doctors there. People were not waiting to have a checkup or something like that. It was more of a social thing in general. I looked at those girls for a long time, and I realized many of them seemed ashamed to be there but they didn’t go anywhere until their names were called.
I, on the other hand, was there for something between a medical procedure and a psychosocial thing. It’s hard to talk about it but at least I went there. The point of it all is I waited for about twenty minutes until a nurse, a very tall one, called my name and asked me to follow her. She asked me to wait in a very small room. She came back shortly with what she needed. A syringe and a small plastic bag. She asked for my arm and in seconds she extracted a whole syringe of blood from me. The nurse asked me to wait there, as someone would be with me shortly.
Another woman came in and talked to me about all those things I knew about but I had ignored. She was very nice and kind and even tried to make me asked her questions. Just to be kind, I did ask a couple of things, of which I already knew the answer to. When I stepped out of the clinic, I still had a half an hour to have something to eat. Luckily, there was a fried chicken place in the way to work. I sat there and ate several pieces, with fries and a large soda. I was going to be late but I didn’t care at all.
I sat on the restaurant’s terrace, where my face could feel the scorching rays of the sun. I didn’t mind at all. I was just so happy eating my chicken, getting all greasy and having such a blast eating and enjoying the sun. It was one of those short moments in life when you actually feel happy, truly happy. I did not feel my happiness then was artificial or the cause of something someone else had done. It was all about me and how good I felt for making a good decision and pairing it up with fried chicken.
When I got to the office, the boss called me to his office to basically yell at me for being fifteen minutes late. Other people were still talking about the gossip they had heard at lunch, no one was really working, but I was the one being called to the boss’ office in order to be yelled at. I let him do that for a couple of minutes, not really paying attention, just nodding and saying, “yes” every so often. But then, he said something I cannot remember but that phrase somehow struck a chord deep inside me.
I told him to "fuck off" and then went back to my desk. I did expect to be fired but nothing happened. Actually, nothing has happened since then, almost two months ago. And now I’m in that waiting room again, waiting for them to tell me if there’s something wrong with me or not. I’m very nervous, of course, but somehow I feel as free as that day eating fried chicken. Because I defended myself once and I did something for me on the same day. I’m kind of proud of those things.
The nurse calls my name. She’s the same very tall woman. She has such a kind and beautiful smile on her face. It’s so soothing to see someone greeting you like that. She asks me to follow her and we end up in a different room than the one the time before. She asks me to wait for the counselor.
As I wait, I notice the pictures around the room. They are personal photos and items, collected through the counselor’s lifetime. She really does feel that place, that tiny office, to be her place. I hope I feel that way about a place too, someday. Or something else.