I scratch my jaw too loudly. Eyes below cap brims flicker towards me. I rub my jaw and look up towards the ceiling. It is still stained brown so long after the smoking ban. Voices start again. Locals.
A woman pushing a drip stand shuffles past. A silent man who would fill a doorway walks with her. I can hear her lungs. I carefully do not look at her or him. Her gown will not be tied tight and his muscles will be ready.
I had not reported to the desk but my name is called. Then I saw the boys were calling me outside. They did not look happy. I had to go to avoid collateral damage even though many would have deserved it.
Watching slow blood drip can be relaxing. I move my foot a little and the flower on the waiting room floor grows dotted petals. I have been here for three hours so I decide to fill in the spaces between the dots. My picture will be complete by the time they call me. I’m betting they will call me in just under an hour so they do not break any rules.
But after three and a half a cleaner shouts at me and wipes the floor beneath my foot into a sticky red veil. She’s right – I wouldn’t bleed on my own floor like that. But my foot is still bleeding so there is little I can do.
At three minutes short of four hours (I was so, so close) I am called to sit on a different chair, this time around a corner. Hurrah! No sanctions!
Two more hours later, my foot is still oozing – then three stitches in less than two minutes and I can limp home.
I avoid the angry cleaner on my way out.