Writer’s Club Submission - ©2016 - Linda Penner
My childhood recollections include many hours sitting in the waiting room, or roaming the grounds of a large, brick building. Children under the age of twelve were barred from the inner sanctum and while adults spent time inside, and I was left to my own devices. After several hours my father would find me, take my hand and walk to the side of the drab brown building so I could wave up to one of the windows. My memory also tells me that everything inside that large, heavy front door was stark white. Even the hard, wooden bench I sat on in the small front room was painted white. But it’s the cloying, clinical smell that I remember most. I had strict orders regarding my movements, but boredom breeds discontent – and I was curious to see the forbidden.
Finally I mustered the courage to step into the hallway to watch where my father was going. To my surprise – nothing happened! The following evening I ventured out again and made it all the way down to the end of the hall and back to the white bench without being caught. The next night I quietly followed my father to a room, peeked in and snuck back to my bench without being seen. Very soon I became extremely adept at blending into the woodwork, and quietly navigating all the corridors and stairways throughout most of the building without being detected.
I would brazenly go in and out of my mother’s room for quick visits between nurses’ rounds, without receiving a single glance in my direction. If I was discovered by medical staff, I would stand on her bedside stool to make myself look as tall as any twelve year old. That technique always worked, and I would smugly come and go at will. No one ever noticed as I stole her chocolates, or the pudding left over from her lunch tray. Stern faced nurses in crisp, white uniforms would bustle quickly about their duties all around me. I was invisible.
© 2016 - Linda Penner
Linda Penner is a member of the Medicine Hat Rhyme & Reason Writers’ Club which meets each Tuesday at 7.00pm in Room S103 at The Medicine Hat College. For more information visit them at rhymeandreasonmedhat.wordpress.com or call Martin at 403 529 9287.