Appointment. Short Story.

Weekend was pretty fun, got to watch some of season 2 of Orange is the New Black with some friends, which was quite enjoyable. Though I agreed to not watch anymore until we could all do it together again, which is one of the stupider promises I’ve made. I guess it’ll make it better when I see them! And it saves me from burning through them all at once and wandering around in a daze for a day or two.

On with the show!



Carol sat in the waiting room, feeling awkward and out of place. She didn’t belong here, not amongst these people. Around her couples sat in chairs, talking softly, holding hands. She was the only person there that was alone. She crossed her legs and took out her phone, hoping it would distract her a little. God damn asshole making her do this by herself. She started up a game, then after a minute she grew frustrated and closed it again. Everyone was looking at her, she knew that, no matter how discrete they tried to make their stares. Looking at the sad old woman, there all alone because no one loves her. She wanted to shout at them, scream that she and Tommy had booked this appointment together, that someone was supposed to be with her. Carol wished she had taken Cynthia up on her offer of coming along, sure every would think they were a couple, but that would have been far better than now. A nurse popped her head into the room and called out a name, one of the couples stood and left the room, still holding hands. It was enough to make someone sick. All these lovey dovey assholes. She looked back at her phone, pretending to do something. She couldn’t concentrate long enough on anything. She sent a quick text to Cynthia, just a general conversation starter, but hopefully it’d give her something to do. Cynthia knew she was going to the appointment today, Carol knew she’d reply quickly.
In the background there was a talk radio show on, Carol wished she had brought headphones, or that she was one of those people who could play music off their phones in public places without caring. Something like that would mortify Carol, it would make everything so much worse. Though if she was one of those people, she probably wouldn’t care all that much about being here alone. Carol took a deep breath, she’d get through this, she would, and in a few hours she’d look back on this and think about how silly she was being. She was fine, she just needed to relax. A couple to her left started to kiss, out of the corner of her eye, Carol saw the mans hand groping at the woman. Well, that was just plain inappropriate. She cleared her throat, then coughed. They kissed for a few seconds longer, then separated. Assholes. Obviously doing it to taunt her. She stared straight forward, looking at the posters on the walls, they were old women posters though, she wasn’t an old woman yet. She didn’t need to know about menopause, or arthritis. She was still youngish. Those things didn’t concern her. God. Would this be her in twenty years? Still alone? Probably desperate too. No. That would never be her. She had more respect for herself, more class. She wasn’t really better than those people. Ok, maybe a little better, but not by much, just a smidge. Though if she was better than them, why did Tommy leave?

She wouldn’t go down that road today, not here at least. Last time she’d thought about it she’d balled her eyes out. It wasn’t a good look and the people on the bus looked very, very uncomfortable. Not that she blamed them of course. That asshole had taken the car and she hadn’t gotten around to getting one for herself, just an added expense. Like this appointment. Oh god. What would the doctor say? He’d probably give her that look, that pitying “oh you poor fool” look, the one that let her know just what he thought of her without him having to go through the awkwardness of saying it. No, he was a doctor, a professional, he’s probably seen plenty of people go through it alone, she couldn’t be the first, could she? Maybe he had to go to classes to deal with situations like this, where he’d know what to do and say so she wouldn’t be uncomfortable and embarrassed. He was a doctor, it was his job to make her feel relaxed and safe. He wasn’t allowed be cruel to her, there was that hippo oath thing. He’d have to follow that. She looked at her phone again, no new texts. Damn. Carol put her phone away, then took it out again. She should have brought a book, she could have pretended to read then. She sat up straighter, no, she was just waiting for someone that was all, they were late. She wasn’t alone. That’s what the other couples thought. She was just dating an asshole with poor time management. Yeah. That was it. She smiled slightly, feeling relieved. She just had to believe it herself, and then they’d believe it. She looked at her watch pointedly, then pretended to send a text to someone. It would be fine, it really would. She could even tell the doctor that Tommy just couldn’t make it. Her eyes misted slightly. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea. Maybe just say he’s late? But that also seemed like a bad thing, you weren’t supposed to lie to doctors, you were supposed to tell them the truth, always no matter what. What if she started lying and couldn’t stop? That could cause complications. No, she’d tell him the truth. There was nothing to be ashamed of, people broke up all the time. It wasn’t her fault that Tommy was a douche bag. But then it was her fault that she agreed to date him. She had said yes, she had stayed with him for almost three years. She’d still be with him if he hadn’t called it all off. Carol suspected that it was because of that tart that started working in his office, she had seen her a few times, always in low cut tops to show off her comically large breasts, full pouty lips that were always slathered in lip gloss, eye make up like that were no tomorrow, short skirts so the boys in the office would look longingly at her legs. Carol knew that game the tart was playing, but she hadn’t thought it would work on Tommy. That must be what it was. He wouldn’t tell her the reason why he left, just kept saying he “didn’t feel it anymore.” Obviously he was just guilty. It wasn’t her fault if someone drove them apart. She couldn’t have stopped that. Could she?
A nurse stuck her head into the room, “Ms. Swanson?” Carol stood and left the room, trying not to blush as they all stared.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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