Waiting rooms are always the annoying places where a simple five minutes feels like an hour.
Waiting at the doctors for my name to be muffled through the speaker I noticed a face from my past.
I say past… it isn’t that long a time span.
And I say a face… but it was more a shape purposefully concealed with hair.
An old friend who stopped answering my phone calls.
I began to think that this five minutes was going to feel even longer than an hour.
We were close and I was almost always her shoulder to cry on. When she came out of the closet, when her parents got divorced, when her dad ended up in prison… she had a lot of tough times and I was always there throughout all of them.
Then I went to university and she started working. Every time I came back home for the holidays we would meet up numerous times, go to the cinema, get something to eat, catch up and chat.
Then she stood me up for the first time. I waited outside the cinema for nearly an hour before she finally answered her phone and told me she had completely forgotten that we were supposed to be meeting up. She called herself a terrible friend over and over. I was annoyed, very annoyed. But I told her it was okay, that we’d rearrange.
Then she stood me up again and called herself a terrible friend again.
She stopped answering my phone calls and didn’t return my text messages.
She disappeared completely.
I even went round to her house to see her and no one was in. Three times.
I gave up.
This was the first time I had seen her in person for five years, even though we lived in the same small town. I was expecting her to look up and smile, maybe even say hello. Waiting Rooms are never that big, and there isn’t really anything else to do but wait…
But instead there was nothing. Just silence. Like I wasn’t there. She had seen me arrive. Heard my name as I confirmed the appointment time. There was no excuse to not know who I was. Everyone in the Waiting Room knew my name at that point. Things often echo around the walls of Waiting Rooms.
I was shocked at how much her silence hurt.
When I was younger a different friend began avoiding me because of my epilepsy, resulting in her grand statement that it was my own fault. When I think of her I am angry, I know I will never have a conversation with her again. Looking at her would disgust me.
This friend, sat in a chair in this waiting room, avoiding eye contact, had never made any hurtful statements life this. If anything she was always derogatory about herself when talking about our friendship. She had never hinted that my epilepsy was a problem for her. She’d never hinted that anything about me was a problem or annoying to her.
She didn’t say anything.
This Waiting Room Silence, even five years later, felt like a betrayal of all the honest moments, all the proper conversations, all the ways we’d confided in one another.
I began to think that maybe it was a look alike type, and that she wasn’t there at all. Then her name got called.
She didn’t even look at me on the way past.
When she came out with her prescription and had to queue at the desk to book another appointment I was convinced this would be the moment to acknowledge me. But again… nothing.
Over the years I have been betrayed by people I have trusted, people that I have been there for, people that meant something to me.
And in this waiting room, with everyone sat in silence, with no where to hide, she betrayed me all over again.
No phone calls, no text messages, and now no eye contact.
Others I spoke to said that she may have been ashamed or felt too guilty at the way she’d treated me to start a friendly chat.
Personally, I think she just couldn’t care less.
It felt like forever with that Waiting Room Silence.