When I wait, I become nervous, edgy, anxious. Time and space to think, to worry, to dwell. A reminiscence might give way to sadness, to recurring grief, to fleeting guilt. Today has been nothing but waiting. There's nothing in the air but the fear that gnaws away at you when you've had that phone call at 5am.
The hospital called to say there was an emergency with my mum. I drove two hours, with baby Charlie all the flavours of confused. They had called because her heart stopped. She was resuscitated, but nobody knows what's wrong. There are Tests.
So, I wait, here in this room with no real light and a fake window. I wait so still that the automatic lights periodically switch off in frustration that I haven't entertained them. I sit so quietly that all I can hear is the ticking of a fading clock and the fluctuating respiration of an overburdened ventilation system. I look at my sleeping baby and wonder if he's going to grow up without knowing her; if one Christmas was all they will ever have shared. I look at myself in the mirror and I wonder if this is the day I will lose a parent, if the hurried goodbyes on Christmas Day are the last words we will ever say to each other.
I type this now because I'm scared. Scared that I lose this woman in my life, this person who gave me life. Scared that I didn't love her enough or show her I cared. Scared that the times I hated her, maybe I was wrong. Scared that she will never know I was here, waiting. Scared she'll give up. Scared she is frightened, alone, in pain.
There is no ointment for emotion; no bandage for our fears. There is no explanation for that stomach-churning dread following that call, that drive, that doctor's hung head as he walks towards you.
You have only that breath that you draw next, you have only the look that you last saw in someone's eyes. You have only one moment to hug them, to kiss them, to let them know how you feel. It is every moment, and it is none. When you wait, that moment will be gone. We don't have any of the time that we think we do.