“Welcome, please take a seat, we’ll be with you in a moment.” The serene, female voice echoed around the cold, lifeless room. Light ebbed into the room through the window, but it was winter light, stripped of all of its ability to warm him. The window added an otherworldly feel to the light, so he couldn’t tell what time of day it was. It could be morning, or evening, or any other time, he didn’t know. He didn’t know, either, how he’d come to be there, and he wondered now where the voice had come from. There was no-one, after all, in the room, other than himself. He sat down on a single chair in the centre of the room, facing a row of empty chairs against one wall. It seemed like the right place to sit, as if the chair had been placed there just for him.
“Um…hello?” he floated the question out in the air, not sure if he really expected any response. “Can you tell me where I am? Who are you? Why am I here?”
“You are in the room,” replied the voice, and he jumped a little when it spoke, “I am me and you are here because this is where you come.”
“This is where I come? But I’ve never been here before…” he mused, although now he thought about it, the room did feel somewhat familiar.
“This is where you come to wait.”
“So it’s a waiting room?” he asked.
“In a way,” the voice replied. “This is where you come to wait to be fixed, you were broken, again, and now you have to wait.”
He felt certain that as familiar as the room felt, he’d never been there before, he would remember, and he’d remember how he got here too.
“I haven’t been here before…”
“It was different then. You’ve been here many times before. Always a different room, but always the same place. Broken. Waiting. Alone.” The voice remained calm, serene, all the time, as if explaining a simple concept to a child.
“Oh…yes…I see…” He wondered how long it would take this time. He remembered the first time he’d been here; he’d been little more than a boy at the time. It was a different room, in a different place, but it was still here. Everything was falling apart and so he’d gone there. He’d told them he was ill, but, really, he just wanted to escape. He’d sat in that room with nothing but his thoughts for company and a machine, in the corner, slowly ticking away. Then, later in life, there’d been another room, where he’d hidden away, scared, afraid, alone, wondering how he’d come to be there, wondering why. Again and again he’d come back here, to this place, shutting the world out.
He stood up.
“Please, be seated, we’ll be with you in a moment,” the voice stated, still as calm and serene as before.
“Not this time.” He walked over to the door, which somehow he hadn’t seen until he stood up, and placed his hand on the handle.
“I really wouldn’t, you’ve never done that before, you should just wait, everything will be okay, just give it time.”
No,” he said again, and as he did so he turned the handle.