Waiting

I’m sitting in a trendy coffee-shop, drinking a chai latte and tapping away on my laptop. There are no children to disturb my thoughts. I could be another (mature, obviously) student, a freelancer, a traveller catching up on email. Three ladies are knitting at the table next to mine.

They don’t know that I’m waiting.

This is the third time I’ve seen you down to theatre. It never gets easier. You were sleeping as we trundled your cot through the double doors, as I signed the papers and confirmed your date of birth. You awoke as they gave the injection, looked into my eyes. You knew I was complicit: I handed you over and they took you away.

You know that I’ll be waiting.

And then I too was away, hustled out the room by a nurse. Back to your cubicle, huge and empty, then out into the street.

What to do with the waiting?

Three hours, maybe four. No children. I could go for a haircut, or a swim, read a magazine, write a blog post. It’s novel and bewildering. I should make the most of it.

All I can think of is waiting.

I wander the streets for a while. Browse the magazines in the supermarket, but the articles seem irrelevant, facile. I end up here, with my chai latte and an enormous walnut cookie that I neither want nor need.

Waiting.

Checking my watch. Watching my phone. Waiting. Wasting. Waiting.

Helplessly waiting until you are back: safe, sleepy, sore, barely recognisable under the tubes and wires, but mine again. Worth waiting for.

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