Voices on the Wind Voices on Waiting
In the Waiting Room by Larry Turner The young woman on the couch moans, rocks back and forth. Her old clothes, her lack of control mark her as one of the homeless. When she lays her head on the arm of the couch, I unobtrusively move my folded coat away from her head. Who knows what parasites she hosts. Her grandmother joins her, as badly dressed as she but holding one of those newfangled remote action keys of an expensive car. When the nurse calls the patient, the grandmother tells me about her career as a realtor, her troubles with her granddaughter, her own broken bones when in her seventies she fell off her bicycle. This conversation puts me in a talkative mood. When the patient returns and the two of them depart, I turn to the only other person in the waiting room, a woman in a wheelchair. I mention that the wait here is not long, and she agrees. I compare it with the wait at another clinic, and she agrees without confirming she has been there. I speak of my wife’s broken leg. She gives me a strange look: “Who do you think I am?” Perhaps she is one of Donna’s friends. I look at her more closely—glasses, tightly curled hair. Nothing I recognize. But she’s holding Donna’s purse and wearing Donna’s blue suit. True, the cast she’s wearing isn’t the one Donna wore in, but there can be no doubt: This is my wife of thirty-eight years.