My concentration breaks when I hear the medical assistant call my name. I know she has pity for me, though it might not show in her routine behaviour. She must see a lot of pitiful souls coming through the clinic, and I wonder what that must be like for her - the walking dead all around. She gives me a faint smile as I get up to follow her down the hall, and places my file in the tray mounted on the door of the examination room.
It was her voice that had more or less delivered the news. I remember seeing the familiar number on my cell phone. If everything is okay, they don't call, I thought. I felt my face become hot and my chest pounded as I stared at the vibrating electronic device in my hand, not wanting to answer, wanting to throw it off the Lion's Gate Bridge and resolve to never know the truth. Then I would never have to tell anyone anything, because there would be nothing to tell.
She had witnessed my tears when I had arrived to receive my death sentence, and watched as I sat in waiting room, my broken soul preparing to hear what it already knew. I wished more than anything at that moment that I was coming in for a routine flu shot like everyone else in the office that morning. More than anything. How frivolous the complaints of runny noses, fevers, and headaches seemed.
I stare out the window in the examination room and I hear the shuffle of papers outside the door as the woman who has looked after my family for the past 20 years walks in and greets me with a smile, and the most ridiculous question I have ever heard in my life.
"Good morning, Sarah. How are you?"