by Fiona Lambert
Abbey sat in the waiting room. Her hands were sweating and her face felt flush. The appointment was looming. A clock ticked loudly on the wall; she had five minutes to wait.
Matt had tried to reassure her the night before. He said it was just routine, had to be done but everything would be fine. She wasn’t convinced. If things didn’t go well, she wouldn’t know how to cope. How do you handle such news? He was sympathetic, gave her a hug and made a hot chocolate.
She tried to stay healthy; jogging regularly and eating the right food. She washed and scrubbed every nook and cranny of herself. Yet here she was, sat in a waiting room again, close to tears. One thing Matt said stayed with her: “Our worst misfortunes never happen, and most miseries lie in anticipation.” She wasn’t sure where the quote came from. It didn’t matter. It kept her in her seat while she waited.
Almost exactly on time, a nurse appeared in the archway to the waiting room and called Abbey’s name. She went to stand and her vision swam. She had to hold onto the chair arm for support. The nurse came towards her and held her elbow.
“Are you ok?” she asked.
“I’m fine,” Abbey replied. “Let’s get this over with.” She took a deep breath and made her way down the corridor, to the examination room.
A man was in the room, sat in backless chair. He invited her to take a seat and pointed to another chair in the middle of the room. The reality of the examination room hit her and she started to shake. The nurse asked again if she was ok. She nodded and sat down.
The examination didn’t take long. She sat there in silence, keeping her eyes tightly closed. He mumbled remarks to the nurse, using language Abbey didn’t understand. After a couple of minutes, he moved her reclining chair back into an upright position and she opened her eyes. His face mask partially hid a smile.
“Well Abbey, everything is fine. You have very healthy teeth. We’ll see you in six months,” he said.
Her anticipation slipped away and she smiled for the first time in days.
“Thank you,” she said.
She walked down the corridor and started to think of six months’ time.
Fiona Lambert is a fresh-faced writer who masquerades as an engineer during the day.