We sat anxiously together in the waiting room. Claire was leaning forward over her crossed legs and she’d taken my available hand and held it in her lap, cupping it and playing with the skin, rolling it through her fingers and trying hard not to overthink things.
I leaned back in the chair with my head resting on the hospital wall, my legs spread, slowly observing the room around me and trying to work out everyones story. There was an elderly man sat down at the far end of the waiting room who was tightly gripping a bandage against his forearm. He seemed to be studying the floor in front of him, unaware that his bandage had soaked through with thin red blood.
Across from me was a child and his mother. The kid sat swinging his legs and he stared at Claire, amused by the occasionally painful faces she was pulling as her body pinched with pain. The boy had an arm in a sling, held up quite high and his hand lay limp over his shoulder.
‘What did you do?’ I asked, thinking that it might help Claire to talk a little.
‘I fell off my bike,’ he replied.
‘Ouch. I did that once. I drove straight into my best friend as I cycled down a hill. We both collided and fell to the floor.’
The boy looked at me seemingly amused at my stupidity.
‘What happened?’ I asked.
‘He broke his collarbone,’ said the boys mother.
She was reading this months Hello! magazine, flicking through the pages without reading them, growing impatient at the fact her son was still unseen to.
Claire gripped my hand tightly as the pain took a sharp turn, and I accepted my pain as I watched her, injured and uncomfortable.
I brought my available hand over her shoulder and brought her closely to my body, tucking her head into my chest and kissing her hair, offering any sort of comforting reassurance as she winced in agony.
We’d been sat still for close to five hours by now, and there seemed to be no joy of relief any time soon, but I didn’t care too much. I was just happy to be next to Claire. I had to hide my smile.