Waiting, by Carly Berg

by Benjamin Imamovic

“A breast needle biopsy is a minor procedure, Mrs. Jackson,” the nurse told me over the phone.

“We do them right here in the office.”

The floor seemed to move a little under my feet as I told my husband about it.

Later that evening, Hoarders was on and I was too lazy to get up. “Would you bring me a Sprite with ice, honey?” I called to him. “Would you bring yourself a Sprite with ice, honey?” He was playing his stupid computer game.

“Never mind,” I said, not really thinking. “I’ll just die.”

He began to cry.

I felt godawful terrible. I hugged his head to my chest. At the same time, I was about to fall over laughing, because I am an idiot.

Three days later, we were here, in the waiting room. Someone had attached two felt Santa hats to the coffee cart, holiday decorations. I thought about caffeine causing breast lumps, but got a cup anyway.

A tiny Asian man yanked at the pointy red hats. “They yours? They yours?” We said no, but he didn’t understand. He seemed perplexed that he could not pick up the hats we had forgotten. He wanted to return them to us. The man yanked. The coffee cart shook.

My husband and I snickered behind our hands. “You are so bad,” I told him.

I finished filling out the forms, returned the clipboard to the girl at the desk. I swiped the pen, though. My husband would think it was funny.

We talked about lunch. Right after this we’d go to our favorite seafood joint and get everything we felt like getting, who cared what it cost.

An elderly woman was up at the front desk. She talked on and on. One of those old people who think the medical staff are their friends. The woman had on a black beret, black slacks, black coat. She was heavyset, the same thickness all the way up and down. “Look, honey,” I whispered to my husband. “It’s a phone booth. Not many of those around anymore.”

His eyes widened in mock horror. “God’s gonna get you for that, godammmit.”

I cracked up, swallowed my coffee wrong, coughed.

“There now, see? That’s what you get.”

After filling in an answer in my crossword book, I passed it and the illicit pen to my husband. “Your turn. They sure do take their time here.”

The old woman in black clumped by with her cane. “Look,” my husband whispered. “It’s the angel of death.”

“Oh, you’re evil.”

We howled into our hands.

“Mrs. Jackson?” the doctor’s assistant called.

We stopped laughing. I stood up. The old woman nodded, and the floor moved a little under my feet.

Carly Berg has a B.A. in English and a master’s in Social Work. Her work has been accepted by PANK, Eunoia Review, The Front Porch Review, and others. She lives in Texas, and wonders if a fruitbat bounced off her head one time or if she made it up.