There were a few things I loved about going to the doctors. The way the chairs were arranged around the room made perfect tunnels circling around the room and you could pinch the hair on old women’s legs if you tried hard enough. Even when it was sunny outside the room was cloudy, the maroon wallpaper, the red chairs, the brown carpet all made up a time capsule of the 60’s. It smelled of dust after rain, but I wouldn’t be able to name that smell for a number of years later. A massive crack cuts through the quiet, “Kirsty Allan, Room 6 please” with a high ping at the start of the word six.
After my appointments my mum would take me to the chemist across the road and I would marvel at the colour coded array of shampoo’s and play with one that looked like my Gameboy. She would buy me lemonade and a magazine. I would be excited to have my new prescription because it felt like I was getting better already just sniffing the faux lemon of the medicine.
Eventually I was too big to pull at the threads of people under chairs, and I nervously thumbed through women’s magazines that my mum was reading. I would flip over the celebrities in the ring of shame, circling a nipple that slipped out of a dress. My face would burn as I quickly skipped anything that said the word ‘sex’ or ‘sexy’ in case my mum saw. The stuffing of the chair was coming out and I would pick it and keep it under my nails. The carpet tiles under my feet shuffled and I would roll it, counting down from 60 waiting. It sounded like someone was playing static from the video player, a muffled voice mutters, “Kirsty Alln Rm 9 please” I looked to my mum and she says it’s going to be okay and I use her arm as a crutch. The operation had worked, but the medicine hadn’t. I took in a breath of musty air and felt my heartbeat slow a little.
It was the air that made me choke this time, and I squeezed my inhaler feeling my chest tighten. I see a silver haired woman glare as I spluttered so I scraped the chair in her direction. I read the posters around the room, ranging from how not to beat your children to how to make sure you’re not having a stroke. The seats had changed, or was it the padding? I had to move my arse around the seat to get comfortable. There were toddlers fighting over coloured beads attached to wire on the table and a young boy was so vigorous he moved the little table mid way across the room. I sort of laughed and wished they had that there when I was young, and rolled my favourite bit of carpet under my seat. The horrible static sound rang out, “kisssshhyy alln room phowar”. My boots clambered as I walked up to reception and pealed the sealing off the wooden panel as I almost whispered through the window, “excuse me, was that me?” A pair of glasses peered at me and asked, “name please?”
I didn’t look ill. That was my main issue. I felt my stomach feel like knotted waves, turning from drizzle to a hurricane as I was walking up the path, walking normally over cobble stones I used to jump on, one by one with my mum when I was little. I don’t look ill. I was thinking about the old dears, the men with hair coming out their ears, the newborn babies with mothers that had milky spit slide down their clothes. I would go in and take a deep breath, open the door that would creak in the way that makes my teeth want to crawl away shivering from my mouth, I would stand on the grey stain on the worn carpet and say, “Kristy Allan for Dr. whoever’s name I had written on my hand this week” I would sit down and kick my bit of carpet if it was free and hopefully not catch the eye of anyone as I read my book. That is how it goes down.
The automatic doors pulled apart and I stepped in, I pushed the door and waited for the creak, but my teeth remained in place. I went to take my breath and instead of the familiar musk I was assaulted by fumes of plaster, of paint and bleach. I looked up from my shoes for the first time and realised that my surgery wasn’t my surgery anymore. It was pale yellow like my medicine from when I was little. The carpet was no longer tiled and stained with mysterious grey patches, it was replaced in a solid blue material that was like felt on my finger tips. I pressed my finger nails into the palm of my hands as I went up to reception,
“Hi, uhhm Kristy allan for – “
she interrupted me, “you only have to let us know if you’re late. Go take a seat”
I don’t know what my favourite seat is anymore so I sit across from the kids table and spun a bead. I jumped up when I didn’t hear the static, nothing cut the silence except a booming echo of “Kristy Allan, Room 2 please”
They even got my name right.