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The Waiting Room
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The Waiting Room
[700 words]
Julia Helen Livingston
[September 2005]
The Waiting Room
Julia Helen Livingston

A wearied and drawn face was reflected in the white tiled floor. A worried man jerked up his head when he heard the scrap of a trolley. As he shrank back in his seat, a little girl placed her hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly. They presented an intriguing picture siting together in the hospital chairs watching the clock ticking the minutes away. The nerve tingling smell of Domestos wafted in through an open door. The little girl was staring at her father through troubled eyes.
“Mummy will be ok,” she whispered, “Won’t she dad?”
Trevor looked down into the innocent, trusting eyes of his daughter. How could he lie to her? Shouldn’t he be preparing her for what the future may hold?
“Dr. Roberts said she will be fine,” Trevor deliberated.

Glancing up at the slowly ticking clock and down the long hallway, Trevor’s face belied his words.
The images kept repeating themselves in Trevor’s head. The horrific scenes would play out like a slow motion movie until he forced himself to stop. Trevor could only think about the accident. He was sitting in a hospital and his wife was dying in the next room. How could this be? It had all seemed so perfect when they had walked down the street just a couple of hours ago. He could see Annie skipping along ahead, Janine and him holding hands and strolling past the shops. How could it have gone so terribly wrong in such a short time?

Annie looked up at her father and felt a wave of guilt wash over as she saw his despair. She didn’t mean to do it and that thought ran over and over through her mind. If only I could go back and change what I did, she thought forlornly to herself. All because of that stupid toy, if only I hadn’t run after it. It didn’t even matter to me if I had that toy or not. Annie’s small white hands clutched harder on the little red plastic toy.
“I didn’t know that mummy would come after me,” Annie spoke in a low voice.
“I know honey, it wasn’t your fault,” Trevor replied reassuringly.
An awkward silence filled the space between them.
“I didn’t notice it was a road…you see dad?” Annie said.
Trevor closed his eyes, and then forced them open to stop the flooding images.
“Mummy will come back to us sweetie,” Trevor replied.
The clock ticked ten slow beats.
“Will the baby come back, dad?” Annie whispered.

Trevor felt the pain as if he had been physically punched. The baby, the beautiful baby boy. Janine was seven months pregnant and that thought he had been blocking for the last couple of hours hit him hard. They had waited so long for another child but miscarriage after miscarriage since Annie was born had made it seem impossible. Suddenly Janine was pregnant and everything was going fine. The baby was healthy and growing well, it was a miracle, and then this happened. Trevor felt callous for thinking of his unborn son instead of his dying wife; he knew he should be grateful that she would even come out alive.

Annie watched as her fathers hand gripped the arm until his fingers turned white. She saw the flashes of emotion that raced across his face. She shrunk back into her chair afraid of what her careless words had brough on. With the natural fear of a child she wondered if her father was angry with her, blaming her for what happened. Will he love me if Mummy dies? Will he throw me out because I made Mummy go away?
Annie thought to herself, longing to be reassured that he still loved her but too scared to ask.

Looking down into Annie’s large frightened eyes,
Trevor said, “I don’t know honey, I really don’t know.”
They sat together staring off into space both dwelling on the suddenly barren future that lay ahead. In one little white hand Annie held a red plastic toy in the other she gripped onto her father’s hand. The waiting room clock continued to tick the minutes away. A nurse walked by hurriedly and a little child screamed down the hall. The silently sat, listening to the ticking clock and watching every movement of the swinging door.



"I thought it was great, i wanna know what happens next!!" -- shazzy, england.
"i think your language is very good . the ending leaves you asking for more" -- Upasana Datta, ranchi, india.
"The setting is great for drama. Now tighten up the story by removing 'helping verbs. Check your 'hook'; is 'was' needed? Don't water down your writing. Remove 'suddenly' and ' 'just'.They don't help the story. Best wishes " -- Cleveland W. Gibson.


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© 2005 Julia Helen Livingston
September 2005

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