“Thank you,” the secretary said. “Have a seat over there and we’ll be right with you.”
Shay lifted her oversized purse from the counter and found a seat beside an old woman. Shay hadn’t expected it too be so full in the health clinic since they mainly did physicals and other miscellaneous health check-ups, but this was also her first time coming to this clinic, so she didn’t think much of it. She had taken off work, so she had all of the time in the world.
The waiting room was pretty quiet too. Noise only seemed to occur when someone chuckled at a text message or a meme on Facebook. One guy was listening to music through his earphones, and the girl sitting next to him wasn’t listening to anything, but she had her earphones on to avoid a possible conversation with him.
Surprisingly enough, there were no kids there, yet.
“Derrick Wallace,” the secretary yelled.
The guy listening to music took his earphones while making his way to the front desk, and everyone in the waiting room stood for almost five seconds, sat back down and went on with their lives as if they hadn’t just stood unnecessarily.
Shay just watched as the strangest thing seemed to be happening before her very eyes. These people crazy, Shay thought to herself. Let me just mind my business and play on my phone til’ this lady call my name.
And that’s exactly what she tried to do, but something was going on in this waiting room that Shay just couldn’t give her attention to.
“Daniel Harper,” the secretary yelled again.
Once again, as Daniel made her way to the front desk, everyone in the waiting room stood and sat back down.
Now, Shay was beginning to feel uncomfortable and out-of-place. She wasn’t scared, but she did feel as if she was doing something…wrong. She thought about asking someone, but she didn’t want to sound as if she wasn’t in-the-loop or worse, be looked at as an outsider.
So the third time the secretary yelled out a name, Shay slowly stood with everyone else and sat down. She did it slowly just to make sure she was well…standing correctly. Her eyes wondered around the room and she stood as if she were a student cheating on an exam.
One by one, those ahead of her on the list were called up to the front desk for their check-ups and the stand up sit down motion continued. The room started to get more and more empty while Shay played Candy Crush on her phone, went down her Facebook and stood and sat in the process.
Before she knew it, Shay was one of only three other people left in the waiting room until a middle-aged woman walked inside started checking in with the secretary at the front desk.
Certainly, the woman was much older than Shay, but her dark skin was still full of youth and life. Her long sister locks were wild and going every which way. She had on a loose sheath with green and black african print and sandals. Around her neck she wore a peculiar gold, turquoise and black pendant of what appeared to Shay as being a crocodile head on human shoulders.
Who does she think she is? God? Shay thought to herself. These people really acting out today.
Eventually, the woman wearing the pendant finished checking in and sat down next to Shay. Shay just shook her head in disappointment at the proposed foolishness of the woman. She could feel the woman’s gaze upon her, but she averted to her cell phone to avoid. She wished she had earphones like the guy and girl earlier, but she had left them at home.
“Breanna Stephens,” the secretary called.
Shay and the other person stood to their feet and then sat down accordingly.
The dark woman watched them closely. Shay could feel her eyes squinting on her, but she was not yet ready to look to her because then, she knew she would have to talk to the woman. Just when she began to wonder why the woman was looking at her all funny, the secretary called for the last name ahead of her.
Kaleb slowly stepped up to the front desk, and Shay stood and sat.
Shay was the only one to stand this time.
“Why are you standing?” the woman asked while Shay sat down.
Shay’s eyebrows lifted and her eyes widened in confusion, partly because she was surprised that the woman didn’t have some sort of African accent, and because she quickly figured out that she couldn’t find the words to explain her actions.
“I…I don’t know,” Shay smiled nervously. “When I got here everyone kept standing when names were called, so I thought I was supposed to.”
The woman sat back in her chair, crossed her legs and began to think while clutching her pendant.
“I like your outfit,” Shay said. She felt bad for saying it because she thought it looked more like a costume than an outfit, but she was trying to be nice. “What’s that around your neck?”
One of the woman’s arched eyebrows raised and she grinned and leaned forward so Shay could.
“Oh this?” the woman asked while holding the pendant up to Shay’s face. “This is the Egyptian deity, Sobek. Sobek symbolizes many things including nonconformity.”
“Seriously?” Shay pondered.
The secretary called out, but there was no response. No one stood this time.
“You better go up there before they skip you,” the woman sat back in her chair and grinned to Shay. “Some things you just can’t rebel against. Patience is key, like the crocodile.”
The woman pointed to her necklaces. Even though Shay grabbed her purse and slowly began to make her way to the front desk, she couldn’t seem to take her eyes off of the gold, turquoise and black pendant around the woman’s neck.
“LaShay Shepherd,” the secretary called.
“Yea…” Shay snapped her head to the secretary in a daze and gathered herself quickly.. “Yes.”
“The Doctor is ready for you if you would just go through those doors there.”
Shay started walking to the doors the secretary was directing her to, but looked back to the dark woman one last time. She was still sitting there in her chair with her legs crossed comfortably, but now she was smiling warmly and waving with each finger pricking through the air as if to say “chow.”
Shay turned to walk through the clinic doors and didn’t look back.