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The Waiting Room: Pt. 7

We were all very intrigued by this story, yet inexorably we had to maintain our cover and pretend we didn’t just hear that loud and outlandish tale. Considering my initial impression of Charles, however, it wasn’t too outlandish. Only a smidgen.

“Well that does explain a lot,” Gill finally said.

“{Shhh},” Charles began, “not so loud.”

“Ironic,” Gill replied under his breath, “Alright, alright. I’ll play into your shenanigan. I’ll quiet down.”

“Rightly so.”

I’d grown a little weary of the company of Charles and Gill, not to mention it was unclear whether Charles was to have another psychotic break or not, so I figured the best course of action would be to shift my seat. I stood up, pondered walking but then decided I didn’t quite want to look like Ida as she scrambled through the dark; so discreetly, quietly, I began to slowly lower myself to the ground. I was lying there, prone, and finally kicked up the inspiration to crawl across the room, making as little noise as possible. I was pretty sneaky if I do say so myself.

Slowly but surely I inched and wormed my way across the floor, collecting dust mites and who knows what else. I began to pick myself up by doing a pushup on the ground (unfortunately, I felt my hand sink into something moist and sticky during this), then launched my legs under me, and sprang up, all in one quasi-graceful motion. While I was standing up, I thought it might be prudent to peel whatever was stuck to my hand. Smelled like watermelon gum. I swear I stood there for a full five minutes just sniffing away – it smelled pretty good. Although I did feel a little awkward with the way the recluse girl shifted her head at me, looking at me like I was some sort of insane. But, why would she look at me that way when there is a perfectly good Charles right across the room? Well I suppose it didn’t really matter, as was often the way of things. I finished peeling off the gum off my hand and sat down. It felt like a different chair. Somehow it was more comfortable or open or maybe it was just the same old chair. Maybe the chair hadn’t changed at all, it was just the perception. Somehow, perhaps being in the company of these oddballs of society, bonding (if one could call it that) with these bizarre-Os, was making me just a little bit more comfortable in the familiar discomfort of these seats. I sat there for a long time.

At long last I decided that the best way to try to find out more about my dismal companion would be to somehow actually start talking to the person. This girl seemed like a quiet and contemplative one, so I tried to start out on a philosophical note, “We’re all really a bunch of defects, aren’t we?” For the longest time, she remained dutifully silent. Then slowly her head raised and then lowered again, into what some optimistic fellows might deem a nod. I continued, “Gill looks like someone out of a fruity musical theater troupe, Charles is self-explanatory, Beth is a Maud, Rick Sr. is a little reserved so I can’t say much about him, Ida was a b**** as we all know, junior Rick thinks he’s capable of driving NASCAR, and even I have my issues. We all have our story. I have mine and you have yours. Now what’s the point of a story if you don’t open up to tell it?”

She looked up at me; I could feel her eyes tearing into mine, even though I couldn’t see her that well. “Stories are nuisances. Their sole purpose seems to be to humiliate or humble. But, you’re a smooth talker, I’ll grant you that.”

“Well, thank you for the compliment,” my voice rose slightly at the end to indicate that I wasn’t quite sure whether this was a statement or a question. She certainly never said it like a compliment. “The purpose of a story is not to humiliate or humble. Granted some stories may be that way, but more often than not, stories are simply here to entertain, or at least used as an educational tool.”

“Name one.”

“Archimedes, Homer, Chaucer, Musashi; all either educational or entertaining.” She gave a {hrmph}. “There are even people who write their own biographies and share stories of their past that maybe they weren’t exactly too enthusiastic to share.”

“So you want me to tell you why I’m here.”

“Some say it could be therapeutic.”

“Some say gravity doesn’t exist.”

“What are you afraid of?”

She paused for a long while and then finally whispered, “I’ll tell you why I’m here.”



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AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm:
I'm loving it so far!  You are really good!
 
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