When I get impatient I wiggle my foot. It’s more of a seizure than a wiggle, actually. I’m doing that now. I sat in the waiting room for what felt like a century, and by the time we were allowed in a room there were seven of us. The odd-number sessions are the worst. Because we get paired off at some point for one-on-one discussions, and it never fails that I get stuck in that three-person group. It means the tête-à-tête becomes a messy ‘It’s your turn – No, it’s your turn’ thing that takes forever. And training isn’t usually something any of us want to do longer than necessary.
As my foot bounces wildly, I take in the others around me. The two that were there when I arrived in the waiting room are the only ones that appear green – the rest of us have a ‘hurry it up already’ attitude. I almost laugh, until a girl sitting on my right speaks to me.
“Can you stop that?” she asks.
“The foot thing. My brother used to do that. It’s so annoying. He never sat still. A nervous tick, our parents said, but I didn’t think so. I swear he did it just to piss me off. I can’t believe his feet didn’t fall off at the ankle. Damn kid shook it hard enough to do just that,” she said.
“Oh.” I stilled my foot and tried not to glare at the teen. I could have given her an ear-full and told her my patience was simply wearing thin and that if one more person pissed me off, I’d take my ‘annoying’ foot and shove it somewhere unpleasant. But I snapped my mouth shut. She wasn’t worth the headache.
The Instructor, one I didn’t recognize, moved around the room speaking in hushed tones to each of us briefly. There didn’t seem to be anyone in the room I felt comfortable dishing my current concerns to, so I hoped he wouldn’t mind me using him as a one-on-one. But that changed when he finally made it to me.
He bent forward and spoke in my ear, not quite a whisper, but not loud enough for the others to hear. “Mallory, we’ll be doing something different today. Once I have spoken to everyone, please rise and take your chair to the back of the room.”
And that was it. He moved on to the teen at my right and I watched him speak to her with my forehead crinkled in a frown.
Something different? Why? I’m just here to talk, so I don’t go crazy.
– MALLORY, A Station Series Novelette – Coming Soon