The Wait

Winner of The Write for Life competition, and displayed on London Underground.

He plonked himself beside me on the bench and clasped my hand, beaming one of those large naïve and normally endearing smiles. It seemed misplaced.

His eyes burnt into mine for only a second. Long enough. Turning from his gaze and glad of his negative status I dreaded the result still to come.

He had been in for five minutes and it was now quarter past four.

“I know,” he said clenching my hand tighter while stroking my back as a form of well-meaning support.

Yet for all his concern I felt this urge to smack his face there and then. Of course he didn’t know. How could he? He had been called in first.

We had decided to go for the test together, thinking it would be easier and more sensible. I have my doubts as I sit still waiting.

His initial relief and happiness short-lived and visibly fading as my panic rises.

I hadn’t expected this. Fighting to keep control I silently screamed as the hug around me tightened. The clock struck four twenty-five and I was eventually called.

The longest and most painful ten minutes of my life had come to an end.