In the waiting room

by Annette Schwindt

The little old woman sits down on one of the plastic seats opposite the aquarium, her knees tightly pressed together. After she has watched the guppies for a while she takes a magazine and starts to read: Charles and Camilla – the sacrifices they make.

The door opens and in comes a big fat woman wearing a headscarf and a much too tight jacket and walks towards the little woman: „OH MY GOD!“

„Oh! You’rrre herrre too?“, shrills the little lady.
„Three funerals!“, cries the buxom one and wheezing she lets herself fall on the seat beside the little one.
„OH MY GOD!“, this one sighs now too.


„Yesterday he still went to his auntie with a cake…“, the big one states dismay. „And then she just lies dead in her bed!“
Can you imagine?!

„OH MY GOD!“, acknowledges the little lady.
„Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Jones. Ninty-three!“
The little one nodds in agreement: „Yes, yeees, she much more than ninty.“

„Nobody knows, you know.“
„Well, if she’s dead. I only heard about it.“
„But if she lying dead in herrr bed?“
„With a cake to his auntie…“


„Yesterday, Nicholai come with salad seedlings, but too cold now.“
„Yes, fucking freezing this!“
„Yes, yeees.“
„There, the stonemason, there for the graves, he has flown or driven to Dublin. And NOW he’ll only come back the twenty-fifth.“
„Much too cold!“
„That’s what I told her too: There’s no use with those flowers now. They’ll croak for sure!“
„Yes, yeees.“


In an akward way the fat one takes her rain cap from the headscarf beneath. The buttons of her jacket hold on for dear life.

„Aaand? Is he in school?“
„Yes, yeees.“
„The little one…“
„One hourrr laterrr today.“
„Yes… Today he has sexual-ity lesson!“, titters the little one.

The big one is sweating.

„Sexual-ity! Can you imagine?“, she laughs all embarrassed. „He only nine yearrrs old!“
The buxom one shakes her head in disbelief.
„Nine yearrrs! He no understand, no?!“

„Scotland my native land! They didn’t really know if they should write it on there.“
„Well, it what they do on the graves, no?“
„But there that way with hills, like with some lines, like there on the one of the couple from the highlands behind there beside the old Mrs. McDonald.“
„He stay long time in Glasgow, no?“
„Until the twenty-fifth.“
„Well, then they have to wait, no?“

„And I went to see her.“
„She had operrration, no?“
„Of course, over there.“
„Well, priest come see her, no?“
„Of course, he asked her if she wants to confess.“
„Eighty-thrrree people he invited for birthday, no?“
„And she said: I’m sick for half a year now, I don’t have any sin.“

Both laugh.

„She had operrration, no?“
„But there were only seventy-five. Seventy-five! He doesn’t even have this many attent his sermons!“
„He bring her something, no?“
„Well then, she give him something, no?“
„Naaah, I’ve told her too: There, at least you could have given him ten Pounds if he comes here just for you!“
„Today they not need that anymorrre… Today you not confess anymorrre.“
„I’ve told her: There, I’ve just brought you some fruit.“
„Now she dead…“

„Nobody knows.“

The doctor’s receptionist calls the buxom one for the treatment.
The little one stays alone in her seat pulling her skirt over her knees tightly pressed together and murmurs with bewilderment: „Nine yearrrs…“

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