I ’m in the Hotel Dieu Hospital emergency waiting room, waiting for my name to be called. It’s the end of spring, beginning of summer, and I’ve been at this hospital a lot lately after a recent operation to have an abscess lanced and drained.

Today, as usual, the room is crowded with people in various kinds of pain. Most of us are reading old magazines, clutching the glossy pages in our hands, and the tightly gripped magazines all look like they’re in pain too. An old man sits in the corner, groaning quietly to himself. His drained face looks like a cigarette butt that’s been tossed to the ground. A cigarette butt that wants to be picked up again, there’s still a little smoke left in it, still a little fire. The woman across from me cradles an icepack against her ear like a cell phone. Outside, the rain falls to the ground without feeling a thing. I stare down at the floor and glance at everybody’s shoes. How loose and delicate all the different shoelaces look tied in their hasty knots. It’s almost heartbreaking. The fragile knots of our shoelaces look like they don’t have the strength to last through the day. It’s the end of spring, beginning of summer, and we’re all waiting for our names to be called.

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