Rough Draft – The Surgery

The waiting room was large but she felt trapped in it. The walls seemed to get closer every few minutes. She stared at the couch she sat on, memorizing the stains. Perhaps the floor was cleaner. Someone moved to the chair across from her. They better not touch that phone she thought. When would it ring? She should have gotten a call over an hour ago. They took her six month old son in for surgery early that morning. He was having two procedures. The surgeon told her he would call in between them to give her an update. The first surgery would take no more than an hour.

She stood up and paced, again. There was a pattern to her morning. Sit on the couch, stare at something. Pace, get coffee. Repeat. Walking into the hall was out of the question. If the phone rang, she needed to hear it. The coffee machine beckoned but she realized she was shaking. There was no way to know how many cups she drank but the little trash can near her couch was full. Standing in the middle of the room, she was confused for a moment. What would she do now? Her rhythm was thrown off. She could feel the others’ eyes on her but didn’t look at anyone. Sympathy was not welcome.

The phone rang, startling her. She didn’t move. Several people asked if they should get it, but the look she shot their way shut them down. On the fourth ring she ran and grabbed the receiver. It was the surgeon. He gave a detailed description of how whoever got the operating room ready had brought the wrong size tubes. Tubes? What the hell? The person responsible had been chastised and her son was fine. They would start the second part of the surgery as soon as they got off the phone. Thanking him, she hung up.

Her family asked her what the man had said. She could only give a partial answer. Once the man said her son was alright she had stopped listening.

An hour later she sat in the recovery room holding her baby. A nurse came near the bed and apologized. He didn’t stay long, looking frightened as he fled. The woman knew her face must have said it all because she hadn’t uttered a word. Then her son opened his eyes and smiled.

She never drank coffee again.


This is a very rough draft. I wanted to get the basic thoughts out. There was no prompt this time. It’s based on a real event. I’m not sure I can keep this under 500 words, which is my goal. It’s already at 404 and I probably have 300 more words to add. Eventually I’ll add descriptions but that’s a January thing. If you want a mental image of the woman, look at my picture.

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