Bad News

He looked at his hands. Empty. Impotent. Normally, emptiness carries potential, possibility. Hope. Now, it just evidenced his powerlessness.

There was a knock at the door. He looked up but said nothing. After a second, the door opened, and a woman stuck her head in.

“Are you dressed?”

“Yes.”

She came in all the way but did not quite close the door behind her. He recognized her as the nurse that had first brought him in. “Do you have any questions for the doctor?”

He simply shook his head.

She gave him a puzzled look. Why couldn’t she go away? Nothing she could do would help. Nothing anybody could do would help. He merely wanted to be left alone.

“I’m sorry, sir. But we do need the room for other patients.”

Just like that, he was being ushered, however gently, out the door. He thought about resisting, demanding she give him more time to process. Surely, it was not too much to ask, not too much to hope for. But there was no sign that she might relent, so he stood, slowly.

She held the door open as he shuffled into the hallway. He could feel her behind him as he made his way to the reception area. The sun was shining brightly through the window. It bothered him, started to give him a headache. He didn’t bother to turn and say good day to the nurse. He merely put on his sunglasses and shielded his eyes as he walked out the door into the harsh daylight.

The receptionist turned to the nurse, who had stopped by the desk to watch him leave, and asked, “Bad news?”

“No, the doctor said he was fine.” Then she shrugged picked up the chart for the next patient.

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