Things worth waiting for

Submitted into Contest #49 in response to: Write a story about a person waiting for an answer to a question.... view prompt

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Bursting through the front door of the emergency waiting room. Jack makes his way past the security guards and metal detector. Pushing his way through the people crowding the front desk. Placing both hands firmly around the edge of the desks wooden frame, he leans forward asking. “Excuse me, my wife arrived here not too long ago. I was hoping you might be able to help me find her room?”

Without looking up from his computer, the desk assistant sifts the mouse around a few times. Matched with a few clicks, the assistant ignores Jack and starts typing information from a file into a patients chart.

Leaning in closer to read his name tag, Jack asks. “Look...Clyde, she's pregnant. It's time. Her name is Haley Smith. I'm her husband, Jack Smith.”

Putting up his pointer finger Clyde blows a small bubble with his gum and continues typing. Each subsequent click of the button matches the pace Clyde chews his gum. Each squish mixed with the clacking of the keyboard. Jack grits his teeth as the ever loud chatter from others waiting fades into nothing more then background noise. Every second that passes causes Jacks blood pressure to rise. Higher and higher it goes. Within a minute Jack becomes dizzy as even the sounds of Clyde fade into nothing more then the blood rushing behind his ear drums.

Slamming one fist on the desk. Jack screams as the veins in his forehead bulge. “You ignore me for one god damn second longer and there will be hell to pay! Now, Clyde. If you would so kindly help me locate my wife. She went into labor an hour ago. I have to find her.”

Clyde's jaw drops, letting his gum fall to his desk. Stunned, he quietly asks. “What was her name again sir?”

“Haley Smith. She's in labor and arrived to see Dr. Harmon. She's come a month early.”

“What's her birth date?”

Running his fingers through his medium blonde hair. Jack says. “October twelfth, Nineteen ninety. Please, hurry. I need to be in there with her.”

“Just a second longer...Oh.”

Jack frantically asks pointing a violent finger at Clyde. “Oh? What oh? Why oh?”

“You're wife has already been taken back into surgery. Sir, you'll have to take a seat. I'll send a nurse to come get you in a few minutes.” Clyde says with a sympathetic smile.

“Uh, okay. No. Why can't I go back? And why is she in surgery?”

Clyde scoots himself back from the desk and stands up. Walking around the edge of the desk. Clyde motions with his hand to another desk attendant to cover for him and asks. “Look man. I get it, you're stressed. I'm just the guy at the front desk. I'll make a call and we'll have a nurse come out and get you in a few minutes. In the meantime I can get you a cup of coffee? Or some water? But either way, I'm still going to need you to take a seat.”

Jack paces about the small space in front of the check in desk. Holding both hands against his head he takes a deep breath and shouts. “No. No that's not okay. I want to see my wife. Now.”

Glancing over to one of two security guards manning the entrance to the room, Clyde raises both hands. In a calm smooth tone, Clyde asks. “Sir, I'm going to ask you to calm down and please go take that seat.”

Pulling at his hair, Jack plants a heavy foot toward Clyde saying. “You...You...You. You can't keep people from their loved ones. Now...I'm going to ask you. One. Last. Time. Clyde...”

“Please calm down Mr. Smith. Or.”

Cutting Clyde off. Jack waves his hands wildly and screams. “Or what?”

Shooting Jack with his taser gun, the security guard Reggie holds the power button with a chuckle and a grin saying. “Or that.”

Jack's body straightens up like a lightning rod and his face meets the ground a second later. The entire emergency room goes quiet. Reggie kneels down and rips the tasers barbs out of Jacks back and shoulder. Rolling him over, Reggie scoops Jack up and sets him down in an empty chair.

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Clyde chuckles saying. “Thanks Reggie. Though you really need to stop tasering people so quickly. He could've calmed down on his own. You...know that right?”

Reggie replies laughing. “Yeah...It's less fun that way.”

“That's messed up man.”

Sitting back down at the entrance kiosk, Reggie says. “Tomatoes, Tamatoes. He'll wake up in a few n' be fine.”

Going into the back office, Clyde brews a fresh pot of coffee. Pulling out a styrofoam cup, Clyde pours a dash of powder creamer and sugar into the bottom. Pouring the coffee in mixes the creamer and sugar in but Clyde places a small straw in the cup anyway. With a small skip in his step, Clyde strides back out into the emergency waiting room.

Kneeling down he waves the cup underneath Jacks nose saying. “Mr. Smith? Hey...I apologize for my friend over there. Here's some coffee while you wait.”

Shaking his head around, Jack rouses taking the cup and says softly. “Thank you...”

Taking a shameful sip of coffee. Jack shifts lower in his seat, trying to blend in with the crowd. Sighing he rubs at his taser wounds, then stretches his neck which makes audible pops on both sides. Glancing down into his cup, Jack watches his reflection shimmer against the florescent light bulbs lining the ceiling.

Looking up. The doors to the back area swing open on mechanical arms allowing a nurse to walk through. Dressed in green scrubs, the nurse walks to the front desk. Engaging with Clyde for a moment. The two enjoy a hearty laugh, and Clyde points to the back nodding. The nurse walks around the desk into the back room and pours himself a cup of black coffee. Sipping on the cup through the doorway back into the emergency room, the nurse nods to Clyde. Who nods back in Jacks direction.

Excited, Jack sits up and takes a big gulp from his coffee. The nurse walks directly over offering him a heavy hand saying. “Excuse me, Mr. Smith?”

“Uh...Yes. What can you tell me? Um?”

“I'm nurse Kyle Jefferson. I work directly with Dr. Harmon's patients when in surgery.”

“And? How's my wife?”

“She's doing great. Why don't you come back with me? She's resting in a room now.”

Walking through the double doors into the back area of the emergency room. Nurse Kyle leads them past the E.R. into the main portion of the hospital. Taking the elevator up to the fourth floor. The two men stand side by side, drinking their coffee.

Speaking over the a-typical elevator music you hear everywhere, Nurse Kyle says. “So, there were some initial complications when the birth started, and we opted for a c-section. Everything went exactly as planned. Dr. Harmon couldn't have been happier with the end results. Trust me as far as complications go, this was about as easy as things get.”

“That is such a relief to hear. Honestly, I can't wait to see my baby.”

“You don't know the gender?” Nurse Kyle asks behind his cup.

With a light chuckle, Jack says. “Ah. No. I figured something like that. Well it's worth the wait.”

The elevator doors open, and the two continue down the hallway past the nurses station into room 412. Cracking the door open, Jack peers inside. Seeing Haley in bed, covered in wires and sweat. Jack walks in to her bedside and stops short. Over in the corner, a second nurse wraps up a small cooing baby.

Overwhelmed. Jack puts down his coffee and asks. “C...Can I hold it?”

With a quiet laugh, the nurse sets the child down inside the clear plastic crib. Turning around she glances at Jack saying. “Unfortunately not the way you're dressed. We can get you a sanitized gown and gloves if you'd like.”

“Yeah...Yeah. Whatever. I don't care. Where's the stuff?”

Nurse Kyle already a step ahead of the situation points Jack to the bathroom to wash his hands first. Once finished in the bathroom, Kyle hands Jack a fresh pair of gloves and sanitized gown. Changed and ready, Jack walks over to the crib. Looking down at his baby wrapped in a pink blanket tears well in his eyes.

Carefully picking the baby up he asks. “Is she?”

Smiling Nurse Kyle says. “Yeah, she.”

Waving a finger near her, she grabs hold and Jack whispers to himself. “Somethings are worth the wait.”

July 06, 2020 17:53

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1 comment

Alethea Jimison
18:22 Jul 16, 2020

Great story Ben! I liked your character development abilities for such a short story. I absolutely disliked those two hospital workers. Any time a writer can influence my emotion with fictional characters, I have to tip my hat to that.


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