[Patience is a Virtue, 644 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
Edward was sitting in a waiting room. He couldn’t remember how long he had been waiting in the waiting room. His first memories were from that waiting room. His parents had dropped him off there at birth. They had assured him that within due time, at a predetermined moment his number would be called and they would have something for him to do. When he asked who they were, he had simply been told that they were other people doing things. When he had asked what sort of things they were doing, he never did receive an answer. He had just been reconfirmed that they were doing things, important things and that he should wait until he could do important things. He had been told that all good things come with patience and that patience was a virtue.
And so he took his place in the waiting room. Waiting for someone to come and collect him so that he could do something important like all the other important people. Those people who had had their existence validated. And so he sat in his seat. The seats were lined up, conjoined with one another, conjoined with steel bars and attached plastic seats. They were not comfortable. Around him people squirmed in their plastic seats. They were in the same situation. Waiting, waiting, waiting… And then somebody was called, he did not know who. Just that they were called. They were taken into another room away from everybody else and never seen again. That’s when Edward noticed that as other people were being called out and taken to other rooms, new people were being brought into his room and told to wait.
Slowly, as time wore on people who had been in the room for a long enough time slowly began to crack. They would start twitching, anxious at first and then slowly becoming more agitated. Then after the initial twitches it would be like a grape getting its skin peeled to reveal the flesh beneath. And then they would explode, they would explode in a temper and call out, “I can’t take this anymore!” And begin smashing their heads against the wall and the floor until they popped.
Then there would be a group of people who came in and cleaned up the mess. Then afterwards some more people would be called. But not Edward, never Edward. Because Edward knew that patience was a virtue. And slowly more people got brought into the room, and then other people were called out, and people were called out, and more people were brought into the room. And people would crack their heads against the floor and walls like peeled grapes. And then there were others who brought things with them. Drugs and other antiquities. They gathered a following in the rooms and looked up at the ceilings of the room, imagining and seeing things that weren’t there. When these people were caught they were called out and told that they would be taken somewhere else. Somewhere else where all the bad people go, the unimportant people, the people with no hope for the future. And Edward waited. He sat there and waited because he knew that patience was a virtue. And a virtue was a good thing to have.
People died in the room from old age and disease and still Edward waited growing old. Then he decided to speak to one of the new people. The people who had just been called into the room and he asked them where they had been.
They replied, “Well, I was in a room. Just like this one. They told me they would take me to a place where all the important people are, where people are doing important things and so they took me here. But it just seems this is like every other room I’ve been to.”