No one likes a waiting room.
Waiting rooms smell of disinfectant and cheap dollar store fragrances. They are filled with tacky furniture and old, curled magazines and people who are, well, waiting. People who would rather be elsewhere. The waiting wait, and idle the time away by flipping through the sticky pages of Parent Magazine or watching the fish float listlessly in the aquarium. The waiting cast anxious glances at their watches, and then at the receptionist, that gatekeeper to some other, purposeful place. The waiting desperately want to hear their name called. But the receptionist avoids their beeseching eyes and ignores their whispered complaints, and the waiting begin to wonder if there isn't something belligerent about the aquarium on display- they wonder if, at any moment, the receptionist will point to the fish in the tank and yell, "They're trapped in a box, too, but you don't hear them complaining!"
No, no one likes a waiting room. And yet, I have lived much of the past decade in waiting rooms.
There was the waiting room that was our first apartment, the basement apartment on 20th East that my husband and I rented after we were first married. It had a stalagtite ceiling and a carpeted bathroom and fake wood paneling in the bedroom. We waited there until I was done with college, until I could work full-time and we could afford something better. That something better was our next waiting room, the place we waited in as my husband finished up his undergrad degree and applied to law schools, the waiting room that had two bedrooms that were flooded at night from the security lights of the adjacent care center, lights that we couldn't drown out, even after the windows were covered with blinds and cardboard boxes.
There was the waiting room in South Bend, the one that was so temporary we didn't even bother to put up window coverings of any kind during our tenancy. And there was the waiting room in London - which was much smaller than any actual waiting room I've ever seen - a sub-divided room over a laundromat with thick glass paned windows and a shower next to the refrigerator. And the waiting room in Munster - the apartment we thought we would be in for just a year, and then just one more - just until we could scrimp together enough money to settle into something more permanent - and then came the job loss, and I found myself back in my childhood bedroom, the room where I had waited for the life ahead of me to begin. Only this time, the life ahead of me was strangely crammed in the room with me: my husband shared the bed with me, my baby girl bunked beside us in a Pack-n-Play, and my little boy slept in the room across the hall. Together, we occupied the room I had grown-up in, and, for over a year, we waited.
But now, my name has been called, and I've left the waiting rooms, and, finally, come home.
We've only been in our first house for over a week now, but, already, I feel at home. I have set aside a pair of old running shoes just for yard work. You do not know how much this thrills me. The windows are covered with blinds, and the walls are covered with paint that is not white. I've hung a picture and planted something in the garden. This home is my new setting, and, I think I'm gonna like it here.