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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Waiting Room

By B.J. Allen

Wait here, I was instructed. It won't be long. That is a damn lie.

I sit and wait. Readers Digest, chair with arms, stale coffee in styrofoam. All the amenities.

And wait. And wait. And wait. My number is 89. And holding.

There was a celebration, of course. Candled cake. Balloons. Posies. All that stuff. And now I just wait for the big payoff.

I celebrated, in my own way. Took off the wristwatch, tore the calendar down from the kitchen wall. Stowed them away, out of sight. And now here I am in this damn waiting room. Did you know that sand can clog up? Just look at my hourglass.

Somebody is announcing something. The old man on my left gets up and hobbles out with help. It's not fair at all! He came in after me. I get to go NOW! Nobody listens.

This is truly a case of “All dressed up and nowhere to go.” I am SO ready. Everything is in place. The furniture dusted, bills paid, chores done, bed made. I even changed the sheets. Papers all in proper order. Fridge cleared of perishables. Mail box empty. Lights out. DNR certificate in my left hand.

I deserve the Medal of Good Behavior and nobody is here to applaud. As grandsons would say, “This SUCKS!”

Readers Digest is finished. Droning music turned off. Coffee gone. What's the big holdup? Now all I can do is daydream. I do. I daydream of sleep.

Now Emma, from down the road, is the lucky one. I didn't even see her check in on the waiting list. I've been just as worthy as Emma. Didn't lust after anyone's spouse. Didn't steal. Didn't cuss, at least not loudly. Dotted my i's, crossed my t's, sometimes twice. Aided the poor and assisted the halt and blind. Never cheated on a test. Was good to Grandma. All that good stuff. WHY does Emma get to go first??

I would complain to management if I knew where management is. Maybe a letter would be better but my hand is tired. Now that I mention it, everything is tired. My brain, the only part of me that is still flexible, is beginning to ooze out through my ears. How do you stop an oozing force like that? All suggestions will be taken under slow consideration.

A declaration: “Boredom is the most evil demon common to mankind,” If only I had a bad pain somewhere it would concentrate my attention. I have a bland body. Bloody boredom is the chief managing CEO here. And I am way past my pension date. To yawn is an excess of energy. Just wait.

And wait. And wait.

The door is still ajar and they don't call me. I just want to hear one word. The N word. No, not the nasty hateful N word. The sweet, welcome, loving one. The BIG N word.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:31 AM | Permalink | Email this post


A great story! We've all been there. Thanks!

I think your story and the way you told it is wonderful. I remember my great grandmother reading the obituaries and complaining that younger people were going first and she wanted her turn.

I think I know why you are not called. You are too good a story teller.

"...My brain, the only part of me that is still flexible, is beginning to ooze out through my ears. How do you stop an oozing force like that? All suggestions will be taken under slow consideration..."


I agree. You need to hang around and let everyone know what it's like. Keep writing until your number is called and then we will miss you greatly.

Wonderful thought-provoking writing! But don't you know you won't get called when everything is in order? It will be when you're saying "Wait, I forgot to sort the bills and clean out my dresser drawer!"
This is the winter I plan to get completely organized--as a kind of insurance policy.

Loved the story. The suspense, the details and descriptions were beautifully written. Thank you.

Ready and holding at 89.
Prepared for everything but the waiting.
It's when you really need to use the bathroom and leave the room, that your number gets called.
That's life. Lord, I hope it's not also true of death.

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