Closing the Gap – Chapter 2 -Waiting
Of course now that we’re here there is nothing we can do but take up a seat in the waiting area. Kat is still holding my hand tight in hers. I don’t let go. I need to hold down onto something too. I know myself too much. If she didn’t anchor me down I would be out of this stinky hospital. I would be running off, with nowhere to go, just to take off and leave it all behind. But she’s holding, and I staying put.
As a collective we’ve never been so quiet. During our memorial on the beach, that other night-long watch, there had never been silence. When our voices had stilled the music had carried on till the morning sun released us and we ran to the water and splashed like the noisy crazy kids we were.
But here, the only noises are the ones that would be there if we weren’t: the doors opening and closing, the hospital staff shuffling about in their spongy shoes, the phones ringing, the hushed voices. I’m glad for it, it hypnotises me, like white noise.
I drifted asleep. I only realise now because I’m opening my eyes and it’s lighter. The earth hasn’t stopped its revolution. It has let the sun warm its down-under face, bringing out a new day. Anger churns in my empty stomach and I get even more pissed off at the treason. We are all here anxiously waiting for news, and now all I can think of is that I’m ravenous.
‘Christian, are you okay?’ Kat asks, her fingers wriggling beneath mine. I must have squeezed them too hard. I nod.
‘Go back to sleep, there’s still no news.’
‘I shouldn’t have slept at all.’
Kat gives me a knowing look. ‘We all did at one point or another.’
I glance over the group. Ollie is wide awake, his eyes fixed ahead of himself, but both Ben and Grace are asleep, their heads propping each other. As if on cue, Ben snorts a bit, then wakes up. He catches me staring and straightens up, letting Grace’s head drop gently to the sofa’s armrest. My guilt is reflected in the scrunching of his eyes, in the tightness of his lips. But us sleeping or not makes no difference.
Ollie gets up and comes back with coffee for everyone. I never drink the stuff, but today is as good as any to start. Before I even have my lips on the rim, Miss Raine walks in, heels clicking loudly, echoing against the walls. She makes no apologies for being here and making her entrance. She has her business face on, that ‘don’t mess with me’ look that melted us to a whimper as first years. ‘Tara is still not awake, but you need to get ready for your interviews. They will not be postponed. Up you get, now. Go.’
My lip curls up, ready for a smirk, or a snarl. This is none of her business. Who is she to tell me what to do? Who in their right minds can think of bloody Company interviews? I want to shout it all out, as loud as I can. It’s not as if Tara will go to hers now, is it?
But Tara would want us to go. She would want ME to go. I swallow my retort back. It catches in my throat before nestling unhappily in my stomach. Interview? What the heck am I going to say?