hospital

Rose was exhausted, and sitting there in the monumental hospital lobby made her feel cold and small and slightly sick.

She had struggled here through the snow, slush, and cold driving rain whose edges were sharp with frost.

Someone was coming to meet her, or so they said when she inquired at the desk. "TakeASeat OverThere," the nurse said without drawing a breath, "AndThePractitioner WillBeRight WithYou." He spoke without looking at her, and so she sunk into the nearest vinyl-clad barrel chair.

Just past the plastic fern, she could see the ambulences screeching up to the Emergency Room, their quick motions blurry in the thick porous safety glass. She shivered, and the urgency of their movements hurt her eyes.

After a while, she found herself immersed in a veritable parade of baby doctors streaming toward the elevator. There were slits in their white badges of importance, just behind te pockets, for them to slip their hands into the pockets of their pants in order to jingle their change.

That was how she recognized Jasper. He jingled unlike anyone else on Earth.

The three coins in his pocket - lucky ones from the third grade - brused against each other to the shimmering chimes of nickel on copper. There was none of this common jingle-jangle for Jasper.

She had once found it pretentious, than charming, quickly annoying, and eventually, she had missed the sound of it.

Jasper was long gone before she could struggle to her feet and move forward, but she didn't even try, and was thus spared the disappointment.

Rose sat in her chair for an hour, counting the slow ticking seconds, before she decided to ask again at the desk. This time, a bored young woman made a desultory phone call. "He's been delayed, I'm afraid. Please take a seat, and he'll be with you shortly."

This Vignette was inspired by a hospital lobby.