Your feet tap uncontrollably as you find yourself sitting in a waiting room at the surgery center—a gloomy health facility, yet again.
You find yourself fidgeting relentlessly, trying not to heave as you do your best to accurately fill out a patient form that’s too many pages long.
The fact that you’re in a place like this for the second time today only frazzles your nerves even more, making the simple task of even holding a pen ten times harder.
It had taken you thirty minutes to get here from campus, including the fifteen minutes it took for your car to heat up enough for you to drive it. Your Polo isn’t the easiest car to run, and winter only makes it that much harder.
The drive to Greenwood itself was fairly smooth, rattled only by the increasing nervousness you felt on your way here.
You tried extremely hard to keep calm, feeling your hands shaking as they gripped the steering wheel hard. Thankfully, you managed to get here without driving yourself into an electric pole.
The sterile smell of the building makes you want to hold your breath until your face turns purple. Your hands are trembling so badly that you’re still on page one of the patient form after ten minutes at it.
It seems like an eternity before you’re done, noting how much you struggle with filling out the sections that ask about previous medication and drug use and family history.
You glance at your watch.
Only ten minutes more.
You head over and hand the completed form to a receptionist behind a glass window, and she smiles politely at you as she takes it. She looks around thirty or so, with warm dark brown eyes and medium long hair to match.
“Doctor Templin should be done soon,” she says. “Just have a seat, okay?” Even her voice is kind, and you’re not sure if she’s being sweet because it’s just her nature or because she sees the distress written all over your face.
You nod and head back to where you were sitting. You’re even finding it hard to speak right now.
The minutes seem like eons as you sit here by yourself, watching staff members in their scrubs and lab coats constantly walk up and down the hallways or bend into corridors or enter the elevators.
The morbidity you feel is too daunting, and the discomforting familiarity of being in this place makes you want to throw up.
The unmistakable sensation of bile rising in your throat unsettles you, and you have to grip the arm of the chair and hold your breath at the bitter, disgusting taste.
You feel yourself break out in a cold sweat, beads of perspiration forming on your forehead, temples, and just above your lips. All telltale signs of one thing:
You’re going to be sick.
You dash to the nearest restroom and barely make your way into a stall before the remnants of what little coffee and bagel crumbs you had earlier come gushing up your throat and out of your mouth in a forced, painful strain.
You heave and heave as your stomach empties itself, and continues to do so even when there’s nothing left to get rid of.
Damn it. You knew you should’ve just skipped on breakfast.
You know better than to eat before coming to a place like this.
After several minutes, your gag reflexes take a break and you stop heaving. Your brows furrow at the ill sensations you feel as you try to take in deep breaths and calm yourself.
You feel your body give in and slump over the toilet bowl in exhaustion. You feel like you’re carrying dead weight, and your legs feel like heavy wooden stumps.
Your temples are throbbing, and despite your efforts to control it, your breath is still coming out in short, shallow strains. You feel tears quickly welling up in your eyes, and you blink them back ferociously.
You can’t cry.
You won’t cry.
You’ve already done enough of that to last quite a few lifetimes.
You stand up, trying to balance yourself on shaky legs as the bowl flushes itself automatically. You brace yourself against the tile walls with hands that visibly tremble.
Blurry stars fill your sight, and you have to shut your eyes tight so that the dizziness and unease can pass. After a few moments of deep breathing, you begin to feel yourself getting somewhat centered again.
You stumble out of the stall and head to the sink to quickly rinse your mouth out, putting a few splashes on your face as well. The cold water feels good against your skin, and it helps you calm down some more. You fight the urge to look up at yourself in the mirror, afraid of what you know I’ll see;
A frightened little girl who, after six whole years, still can’t deal with her past.
You walk out of the restroom before uninvited memories that threaten to come rushing back get the chance to consume you. You can’t be by yourself right now. As much you hate being here, you need to be around other people.
At least, for the sake of your sanity.