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Waiting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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As the elevator doors opened, the smell of disinfectant filled my nose. A strange silence had settled over the occupants of the room. Posters of smiling faces hung from the white walls. We approached the counter where a frazzled woman balanced a phone on her shoulder and typed furiously.

“I’ll be right with you,” she said sharply, sending us a glare. Before I could even nod she threw the phone down onto its cradle. “Can I help you?”

“Uh, I need to check in,” I said slowly. What else would I be doing at the desk with a large sign saying “Please check in”?

“Name? Doctor’s name? Time of surgery?” She shot questions like bullets and I struggled to field them. She pulled out a stack of papers “Fill these out. Next!”

I carried the mountain of paperwork to an empty seat and fell into it with a sigh. Why can’t they ever have comfortable chairs in hospitals? After some shifting around, I finally found a somewhat comfortable position and began my “novel.” I suddenly felt as if I was taking the SATs again while I stared at the black-and-white pages. After scribbling my signature for the hundredth time, I brought the papers back to the receptionist, who snatched them from me.

“You’re welcome,” I muttered before taking my seat again. I had started rubbing furiously at the hard, itchy band on my wrist, but my mother grabbed my hand. I sent her a venomous look and slid lower in my chair.

“Are you nervous?” she asked, trying to distract me. Before I could answer, she started talking again. “You shouldn’t be. I mean, this isn’t your first operation, so you know what to expect. Yeah, you’re not nervous.”

While she continued the conversation with herself, I tried to get my arm back. After a few sharp tugs and some twisting, I still could not pry it from her grip. Giving up, I used my other hand to put on my headphones. As I sat listening to my music, it finally hit me: I was having surgery. A wave of panic washed over me as I struggled to remain calm. Instead of trying to pull my arm away, I embraced my mother’s hold. She gave me a sympathetic smile.

We sat huddled together for what seemed like an eternity before a nurse in green scrubs opened the swinging doors. A hush filled the room, and everyone leaned in to hear what she was going to say. She glanced at her chart. “Elizabeth?”

I sat there frozen. My mother pulled up so I too was standing. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. My mom kept hold of my hand as we slowly walked through the doors. It was the scariest moment of my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Caramel_Apple said...
Dec. 30, 2009 at 4:51 pm:
What were you getting surgery for?
 
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miriammm said...
Aug. 6, 2008 at 3:09 am:
Heya, I like the way you write. I felt like I was with ya. You should consider
writing a memoir.. best wishes, and keep writing.
 
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