Brenda paced her gaze focused on the ground. The white tiled flooring was shiny and clear, clear enough that she could see her reflection. Her worried expression seemed to be plastered in every clean tile on the floor. A couple of times, as people passed by, she wondered if they would see it too. She wondered if they knew.
There was nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to freak out over. Still, being in a hospital waiting room made her nervous.
Brenda’s legs were growing tired. They were beginning to ache. The bottoms of her feet were stinging and she was pretty sure blisters were forming on the heels from the straps of her sandals.
Every once in a while, she’d hear a beeping sound. She’d freeze in her pacing and listen. Her mouth gaped open, her eyes wide. People would walk this way and that way passed her, but no one seemed to pay her any attention.
Didn’t they see her standing out there? Didn’t they sense she was worried? Didn’t they want to help her?
No, she didn’t need help. There was nothing wrong. Everything was going to be fine.
Brenda began to pace again.
One, two, three, four… She found herself counting the tiles on the floor. Before she knew it, she was at the end of the hall. She turned around and started counting all over again.
Brenda had done this more times than she could count. What was taking so long?
Yet, no matter how hard her feet hurt, how dizzy her head got from staring down at the ground, or how heavy her eyelids become, she kept pacing. She kept counting the tiles. She kept staring at her reflection in the floor. Her heart raced, her breathing had become jagged. If someone didn’t come and tell her something soon, she was going to have to be admitted to the hospital herself.
She paused. Her eyes grew wide upon hearing her name. She slowly turned around and came face to face with a nurse. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed between her getting that phone call up until now. Her throat suddenly felt dry, probably from the continuous counting.
“Y-Yes…?” she answered quietly.
The nurse smiled sweetly. “Your sister and brother-in-law are doing just fine. They’re the proud parents of a healthy baby boy.”
Brenda put a hand over her heart, her vision becoming blurry as tears sat in her eyelids. “You mean…” she breathed heavily, “I’m an aunt?”
The nurse chuckled. “Yes, Brenda. You’re an aunt.”
The nurse let out another chuckle. “Everyone is doing well, but we just need to give them another few minutes. I’ll come back in a bit to bring you to the room, okay?”
The nurse walked away.
Brenda pressed her back against the wall. She bent her knees, sliding down to the floor. She looked over at her purse, which had been sitting in the middle of the hall the entire time. As she wiped some tears away, she wondered why no one had taken it. She had forgotten she even had it with her.
Opening her purse, Brenda reached her hand in. Once she felt something soft she smiled and pulled it out.
She placed a small teddy bear with a blue bowtie in her lap. She couldn’t wait to meet her nephew.