It is dark early in the evening. I walk off the elevator. The hospital is sterile, brightly lit, quiet but only muted. There is a emotion vibrating beneath the hard tiles. The floors above are full of held breath, choked back tears, silent waiting moments.
I cross the courtyard which is vacant in the evening. The crossed brick patterned reflects the fluorescent sheen. The night shift staff is settled in their chairs and the day shift are all ready in traffic. I have been waiting for a close friend and teacher to live or die. I have been waiting to learn that a child will soon join us. I have been waiting for my shift in the Emergencyt o be over so I can go home and hold my wife.
These three or four blocks between the hospital towers, two red paper dolls and the expansive deserted parking lot with my truck waiting by a honey colored street light, these blocks are my time out of waiting. I walk step after step in the frost of late autumn and the dark that holds before the advent. I try not to rush. But my pace cannot fall too slow either. For there is too much potential change to linger on this walk.
Instead I walk in a regular pace, breathing deeply. Try to control all the worry and doubt and fear of not knowing what is around the next corner. The pain and concern of the unknown is the worst just before the turn is taken.
As a boy I feared the head lights of the oncoming cars because I could not see past them. And the fear and doubt builds and builds and reaches a crescendo to the instant before the car passes.
These times of waiting are unending. That car never passes. The corner is never taken. And the greatest fear though never realized is never out of range to possibility. But I walk the same steady unhurried, tense pace. I keep awake in the darkness. Eyes open to the coming change. I had vowed to stay awake but this is exhausting.
I look up and wait. I pray and hope and Wait. The advent is approaching.