Time's up

Submitted into Contest #49 in response to: Write a story that takes place in a waiting room.... view prompt



The waiting room was a cold, clinical place. The sounds of doctors shouting and the faint beeping of medical equipment was all that broke the tense silence between the people in the room. No one dared say a word in fear that they might alter the outcome. Finnley was tapping anxiously on the arm of the uncomfortable, plastic chair he had been sitting on for hours. The ticking clock served only to make him more stressed and uncomfortable than he already is. He wanted to strike up a conversation between him and Xander’s parents, maybe about the weather or something like that, but he knew they hated him and now definitely wasn’t the right time to talk about how it might rain this evening.

 Instead, he opted to look through photos of him and Xander, praying that this won’t be the last time he would see him alive. He thought about all the interesting things they have done together, how much better his life is with Xander’s chaos added to it. Xander got Finnley out of his shell, Finnley wouldn’t be as confident as he is without Xander. Finnley knew he wouldn’t be able to cope without Xander, he just meant too much to him. The idea that he might never see him again sent a cold chill through his entire body. No! He can’t think like that. He will be okay! He must! Finnley was trying his best to not panic in front of Xander’s parents, besides they might lose their son and that’s a much bigger loss.

For the first time that evening, Finnley looked at the clock. It was 3am. Nothing ever good happened at 3am. If it wasn’t for the worry that was coursing through the freckled boy’s veins, he would’ve been exhausted. I can’t sleep now Finnley kept reminding himself. If there’s an update, his parents wont wake me to inform me he thought bitterly to himself. He and Xander’s parents didn’t get along, they never have. The atmosphere was especially icy tonight, as they sat on opposite ends of the relative’s room.

The coffee from the vending machine burnt Finnley’s mouth. It might not seem like a big deal, but he would prefer to focus on that rather than the very real possibility that the most important thing in his life right now might die on this very night. He also noted that the whole hospital smelt of antiseptic, even the waiting rooms. Well, at least there’s a low risk of him catching an infection here, Finnley thought to himself, he often used humour to deflect the severity of a situation.

There was a stain on the carpet. It reminded Finnley of a birthmark Xander has behind his ear. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it. He just kept staring and staring and staring. Xander doesn’t show his birthmark often. Not that he’s embarrassed by it, he just has hair covering it most of the time. Finnley only knows it exists because Xander’s barber cut his hair too short once so the small mark was visible.

Finnley checked the time again, it was now 4:35. He can’t figure out if time is running concerningly fast or if it was running agonisingly slow. In the end, it didn’t matter. Time was still running, that was something. Xander had this amazing power of making it feel like time had stopped whenever he was with him. Like they were the only two people existing in that moment. He began to worry that he may never get to experience those moments again. He felt like he’s taken them for granted. Stop! He’s going to be fine!

The clock had reached 5am and Finnley felt like he was going out of his mind. They still haven’t come with any news yet. He could see that Xander’s parents were also getting annoyed by the agonising wait without any news. As much as he disliked them, they just wanted to see their son, he knew that. He wanted to see him too. He needed to know that he was alright. However, as time went on, Finnley felt less and less optimistic about the likeliness of his boyfriend being ‘fine’. They would only be taking this long if he was severely injured. All Finnley wanted to do was pull his love into his arms and tell him how stupid he was for not looking when he crossed the road. He doesn’t think that’s going to happen, though. They’ve taken too long.

Another 45 minutes go by until they finally got some news about Xander. During the whole explanation, the doctor didn’t once look at Finnley. He explained that although Xander is ‘physically alive’ at the moment, he has no brain function and would need a ventilator to breathe. The doctor also mentioned turning off said ventilator tonight. Finnley wanted to scream No! We can’t turn off his ventilator! Not yet, not tonight! However, no matter how much he hated it , he had no control over this, he couldn’t make any decisions for the boy he cared about.

What bothered him the most though, is the fact that Xander’s parents agreed to take him off of life support tonight without a second thought. It’s like it didn’t bother them at all that their son is dead! Oh my god, their son is dead! Xander is dead! Finnley never truly expected this to happen. He had so many questions he wanted to ask the doctor but he had already moved back onto the ward. Huh, he must be busy. It hadn’t yet sunk in yet for Finnley that Xander is dead, really dead.

About half an hour go past before Xander’s parents were invited in to say goodbye to their son before he is taken off of life support. They silently got up and walked to the small room to see their son for the last time. They didn’t say a word to Finnley, they didn’t even bother to look at him. They hadn’t even shed a tear yet, there has been no change in their demeanour. Finnley, however, knew that it must be agony for them. They really did love their son, even if sometimes they might not show it.

When Finnley heard the door to the hospital room close, he allowed himself to break down, tears spilling so fast, he worried he would run out of them. Xander is dead! Those words still didn’t feel real enough yet, none of this did. He couldn’t believe he had lost the greatest love of his life so far. Albeit, he may only be 18, but that doesn’t change the intensity of the feelings that he felt for him. Finnley genuinely saw a future with Xander, he was more than just a guy that he would date in sixth form. In the end, Finnley would never know if they had a future together because Xander’s future was cut short by a black Volkswagen.

Finnley had a feeling that he wasn’t needed at the hospital anymore when he saw Xander’s parents walk out of the hospital without any word to Finnley yet again. So Finnley decided to leave too, he couldn’t be there anymore. There was a bus stop about 5 minutes away so he put his ear buds in and walked there. The first song that played was a song that Xander wrote for Finnley on their first anniversary of dating. This caused Finnley to sob violently, the sunrise reflecting against the streams of tears that stain his freckled cheeks. Finnley didn’t know what he was going to do with himself as he realised just how much of his identity was tied with Xander.

July 06, 2020 03:26

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Hallie A.
03:28 Jul 16, 2020

Nice job


Millie Spence
15:44 Jul 17, 2020

thank you :)


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Aqsa Malik
20:57 Jul 07, 2020

I absolutely loved this story! Something I liked off the bat was how relatable it was, even though nothing had really been revealed yet. Like Finnley wondering if he should make small talk with Xanders parents felt really authentic to me, and I loved that. I also love the use of italics you've peppered throughout, and also the mystery of Xander and Finnleys relationship until the latter half. There was just one thing I noticed, and that was that sometimes your sentences are too long, separated by commas and that makes it hard to focus...


Millie Spence
15:35 Jul 08, 2020

Thank you so much. I'll definitely take your advice on board :)


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