The Waiting Room

Here’s a poem I wrote some three months ago. While the real reason was to experiment with story telling in poems and using dialogues within them, I couldn’t resist turning it into a poem about different outlooks on life once the thought arose in my mind. The dialogues might be too direct but I’m pretty happy with what I managed to do.

Waiting rooms, invariably, are scary places
Tinged with equal parts, fear and hope
Awaiting the call that was inevitable
These three souls, to each other they turned
The first was a young woman, the second was old
The third was a man in his middle years
The woman who was young looked much older
Her face, though blank, was seeped in sorrow
She spoke then, in a voice tired and dry
“Doesn’t really matter what they say inside,
You two know and so do I
What we’ve got within, we can’t defy
Our fate was sealed the day it arose
It’s unfair but then so is life
It’ll kick you down, then kick you again
This tunnel is all dark, no light at its end
Don’t struggle, don’t fight, let it have its way
Nothing can stop us from wasting away
It really don’t matter what they say.”
The older woman stared long and hard
A kind smile broke through that hard facade
In a lilting voice, she gently said,
“It’s always too soon to give up,
and never too late to not.
As long as you breathe, there’s always hope
As long as you fight, the war isn’t lost.
These old eyes have seen a lot more than yours,
The deeper the fall, the higher we rise
What meaning does darkness have without light?
It’s easy to surrender but only the brave can fight.
What’s inside you is within me too
But I’ll fight it, to stay to myself true.”
The young woman nodded, starting to believe
And touched with hope, a smile broke out
The women now turned to the man, who sighed
But his voice, when he spoke, was clear and sharp
“I won’t smile but neither will I cry.
There’s no good, no bad, only who we are.
This thing inside? It’ll do what it will.
I’m a free man, not bound to its beck and call.
I’ll live by my rules and by them shall I die.
Them people inside shan’t decide my fate.
Life is to exist. It can’t kick, can’t help.
When you fear, you refuse to accept what is.
When you hope, all you do is desire.
I’ll just live, with all that that entails.”
The women sat still, stunned, nay, shocked
The silence that followed was complete. Absolute.
Then the call came out, and the youngest went in
The door shut behind her and the wait began
A cry came out next, of unbridled joy
The girl rushed out, tears in her eyes
“They were wrong last time! There’s nothing inside!
I’ll live, they said. I say I’ll live forever!”
The elder woman rose with grace to embrace
They parted too soon and in she went
The wait was shorter, the cry,  of keen pain
Sobs racked her body when she slowly stepped out
“That thing inside has spread and spread
My days are numbered, each breath my last.”
Tears of joy, now they fell filled with sorrow
The embrace, desperation for solace
The man stepped in, embodying nonchalance
The wait was the longest and the cry, muffled
After a longer wait, the door swung open
The man held a knife, his face spattered with blood
“He said that I didn’t have much longer to live,”
He dropped the knife and walked out of the room
“The good doctor didn’t have much longer either.”


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