She was sitting in the waiting room. A nurse told her there had been an emergency. She had no clue how long ago that was. The nurse seemed alarmed – his big body wanting to pull away to whatever the matter was while his gentle face remained with her for a short moment. There, there, he said, we won’t be long. Was this long? Sessions lasted for about 45 minutes she knew. Is that long? She thought about what she was to tell the doctor. She always had to tell something to the doctor, who would listen patiently and silently as she would move about restlessly. She hated silence. It made her hear herself more clearly. So she tried to think about what she was to tell the doctor. She envied the doctor who had it all worked out. All worked out except for her maybe. That was her fault – going around in circles, waiting for some sign that would never come.
She heard a rustle. Suddenly he was there. I’m Guido, he said. I”m Agnes, she said, before she could even be startled. It is about 45 minutes then, if this is the next patient. But was he? Are you?, she asked. What?’, he wanted to know. The next patient? He didn’t answer. The whiteness of the room was always painful but – when Guido opened the door to the doctor’s office – a flash of light hit her in the left corner of her left eye. She closed them to follow the flash turning into a fireball bouncing around in her sleep. Come, Guido waved at her with one long arm, the rest of his body already disappearing through the doctor’s door. She hesitated. The arm became every shorter but kept waving until there was only a hand, palm upright fingers gently beckoning her to come. It was not allowed, she knew, even if nobody had ever told her that. Some things you just know although most people – she knew – knew more things in that way than she did.
Afraid to remain for another unspecified time in this silent white room, she stood up and followed suit. Close the door, he said. She did, and sat down on the other side of the desk, he had already sat down in the doctor’s chair. He swiveled and looked right in place with his smart look (a black T-shirt, dark blue jeans and a pair of white noise sneakers). Agnes didn’t know the doctor’s chair was a swivel chair. The doctor never sat there. She always sat in the sitting corner designed for a party of four even if it seemed unthinkable it ever held more than two at the same time. So what’s the matter with you, Agnes? It came out cheerful and as if it really mattered to him. She was dumbfounded. Then started to recite what she was going to tell the doctor. He swiveled and with his back to her looking out of the window he said: no-no, not that, Agnes, what is bothering you now? The wait, always the wait. The light too. The silence. The responsibility to say something that makes sense. Something people want to hear.
Guido swiveled back and exclaimed: Aha!, so let’s do something about that, shall we? He was rather well kept, looked younger than he most probably was. There was an intensity about him that left her doubting whether to be scared or attracted. She could not choose, Guido stood up, walked around the desk and took her by the hand. His was hot, hers was cold. Look there – he said – pointing to the parking lot of the hospital. It was mayhem. Fire trucks, police vehicles, ambulances, all with their lights flashing, differently colored and differently times. The sound of the sirens only now started to softly grow in her ears. She realized it was produced by her brain. That the actual sirens were silenced. The eeriness of it all made her shriek putting her hands over her ears. Sorry, Guido said, softly putting his hand over Agnes’ eyes, I should have known. His other hand – gently – took her by her arm – he turned her around facing away from the window. She felt safe. Refreshed by his touch and maybe slightly aroused by what felt like a perfectly synchronized dance move.
Shall we get out of here?, he asked. She nodded. They made their way immediately, with his hand still over her eyes. Slowly shuffling toward the door he muttered some words – without making a lot of sense. He wasn’t a patient. He did have an appointment with her doctor though. Agnes didn’t care. She just wanted to get out of there. Back in the waiting room, Guido wanted to go right from whence he had come. No, said Agnes, follow me. It’s better to go left. He doubted for an instant, dropped his hand and arm from her, seeming immobilized and lost. She took him by the shoulder and said: come on, this is the way out for us. He looked at her and was only now struck by her beauty and brightness. He let his shoulder be moved by her but remained put otherwise. She faced him. Oh, she looked so steadfast now, like a shining star. Come on Guido, they will trust me. I’m harmless, docile, hardly noticeable. We just walk out. She took his other shoulder, looked him in the eyes – and nodded to comfort him all was going to be okay.
Okay, Guido said, they will trust me too. I am not a patient. I just came in here to see your doctor. That’s all. On they went, in lock step, her elbow tugged in his arm. As determined to get out of there as convinced to stay together. For a while at least. As long as it lasted. It was not long after they exited their waiting room that Agnes saw the nurse coming their way. She marched on, Guido hanging in there. Sorry, said the nurse whilst nodding, that I left you there so long; it was hectic, still is and thank you Guido for taking such good care of Agnes.