Educated in the waiting room

November 13, 2007
By Kristin Nance, Topeka, KS

I swear I have spent most of my life watching and observing.
On my chair to right I met four people
in the waiting room.
A new subject, one each night.
None of them spoke, but they didn’t have to.
A little bird told me everything I know,
all while I sat in the waiting room.

So much for looking 15
High heels and big boobs
Two little kids and a bunny tattoo
Her ex-husbands name written in black
No one told her about the tattoos you can take back
Glitter belt and midriff
The tans fake like her hair
Blonde, darks roots, no up keep there
The birth of two kids is reflected in her tummy
Two kids and two dads from two nights on her back
Her attempts to look 15
Makes it only known, she’s at least 45
She pays the bills by taking off her teenage clothes
All the while dancing on a silver pole
She didn’t tell me and I didn’t ask
I learned it all while I sat
In the waiting room

50 and pristine
Just got out of his SUV
Pants and tie crisp like new
Hair oiled back as his hair line recedes
Laptop in hand, foot tapping in time
His nose is red like a tomato on the vine
Hints of alcohol linger on his breath
Two kids, nice house, on the phone with his secretary again.
He calls his wife, to be over heard.
Working late again (Working the secretary again)
Sorry he will miss his kids soccer game (his kid played soccer he had no idea)
Wont make dinner but he’ll order in (a bottle of champagne and some aphrodisiac then-)
The picture is clear
He is not good at hiding
That’s okay he will wake up one day
And realize everything is gone anyway
Kids moved out
Wife long gone
Secretary fired
I never asked and he never told
I just sat and watched in a waiting room

She’s 12 and suicidal
Her mom doesn’t understand
The woman’s detached
Wearing Dior, consumed by her blackberry, and the gossiping world
She wrecked her Porsche
Drunk at the wheel
Nearly killed her daughter
Doesn’t phase her still
She doesn’t understand why her daughter is crying
Doesn’t understand why her daughter tried dying
Her life is similar to a Monet
Pretty and perfect from far away
Get to close and you see it all fade
A mess of colour
A mess of money
A mess of happiness that she couldn’t buy
There’s a bottle of vodka in guest closet hiding
But I shouldn’t know that
Because I didn’t ask and she didn’t tell me
I heard her say it to her maid
As I omitted Bland bleak stares
From my waiting room chair.

Man of twenty, pale and sweaty
A baby is crying beneath a blanket
He hasn’t got the money
And the mom didn’t have the time
But the baby needed a doctor to make it to tomorrow
No mother in sight
She probably doesn’t care that he is raising a girl on a salary from hell
He is determined to get buy
he’s binding his time till something better passes him by
The baby is still crying
He is yelling for help
But no one cares unless there’s money to be held
I didn’t say a word
For I watched it all happen
As he fell to his knees
Begging the lord to bring help
I saw it in his eyes
Every emotion he felt
I didn’t ask and he didn’t speak. I just watched from my seat
In the waiting room.

Four people, four days
I got my education
Welcome to the society where nobody listens
I saw four people all screaming for help
I saw four people who have all been through hell
I know each one, but I don’t know their names.
I didn’t have to speak to them to understand their pain
I watched them in the world
As they left the sun
And entered into the room full of meds and drugs.
The chill is like chains
The drugs make them numb
So they can wake up each day and function
I met each one in a waiting room.

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