Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Waiting Room

I'll be posting a 100 word story soon, just wanted to share another submission I sent off to +Adrianna Joleigh Writer Challenge.  You might recognize the story as something I posted before on the blog, originally it was at a total word count of 590, it's now down to 498 for the writer challenge, and I think a little better thanks to that edit. It's... tighter, and has a better feel to it.  If you enjoy this and my other submission "Maskara" please like (+1) them on the Writer Challenge link below:

*update*  Removed "The Waiting Room" from the writer's challenge, was just informed only one submission per writer.  :)  Sorry guys, my bad.  Looks like I got to edit an old work there which made it better.  Thanks for getting back regarding that confusion +Adrianna Joleigh!

There are amazing writer's participating with stories that leave you wanting more!  Hope you enjoy all our stories.  

The Waiting Room
by M. A. Barr

Outside the hospital’s window, people were buzzing about like ants foraging for food; the angry blare of traffic, the hungry cries of street hawkers, the muffled chaos of the world seeped into the hospital room, accompanying the rhythmic beeps of the heart monitor beside the patient’s bed.  The old woman in bed was attended by a younger man in a suit.  It was very hot to be wearing a suit in the tropics, but special occasions called for them.

Today was a special occasion.

“Can I get you anything?” he asked, pulling a chair closer to the bed.

“Time.”  The woman answered giving him a tired look.

That answer always made him smile.  He started to loosen his tie.  He always hated the weather in the Philippines.  You could never dress well and be comfortable.  It was always either one or the other.

“It’s pretty hot,” the man said.  “How about a drink?”

“Yes.  That would be nice.”

The man picked up a pitcher from the bedside table, and started to fill the complimentary styrofoam cups the hospital provided for visitors and patients.  As expected the water was warm, the ice had melted for quite some time.

“I’ll ask the nurse for a fresh pitcher.”

“Why bother?  It will be warm soon as well.”

“Ah… So, have you given it some thought?”  He asked, taking a sip.

She nodded her head while taking a drink, her hands shaking a bit.  Old age, that’s all it is, she lied to herself, old age.

“It tastes sweet.  Even though it’s warm, it tastes sweet.”

“I’m glad,” the young man smiles.  “Things like this, and others you’ve been waiting for can be surprisingly sweet.”

“Stop it.”

The man faltered, “I was only trying to make it easier for us.  It’s not a subject one talks lightly about.”

“I know.  Thank you.  Is… is it really time?”

“Yes.  I’m sorry.  We’ve been postponing it for too long.  There are others I need to visit.”

“Oh.”  The woman looked out the window once more.  “I guess it had to end eventually.”

“It’s really simple.  I promise you that it’ll be painless,” the man said, “Nothing has ever gone wrong, and most importantly, there have been no complaints since I’ve started.”

“I might be the first to complain.”

“You have that right.  You can tell my bosses after, if you want.”

“No.  I really don’t.  You’ve been patient with me, thank you.”

“I always try to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible,” he puts his empty cup down by the bedside table, “Now, are you ready?”

The old woman looked around the empty, sterile hospital room one last time.

“I-I hope so.  What happens next?”

The young man reached out and squeezed the older woman’s hand.  He took the styrofoam cup from her other hand before the water spilled, and closed her eyes.  Standing up slowly, he straightened his tie, and walked out of the hospital room, a long flat piercing sound the only noise.