Waiting For Bumble

The roses seemed to bleed into the air. Their colour was so vibrant the light glared off them, eviscerating crimson.

He sat in the garden, on the little stone bench, wearing an itchy suit, staring at the roses and green, green plants, and yet simultaneously very carefully looking at nothing.

He was waiting, as anyone with half a brain could tell, his leg bouncing, the rest of him deadly still. Most telling though was the lack of distraction. No phone, no book, or laptop, or magazine.
He was waiting with a capital W.
It was an important Wait. Not a dentist appointment or coffee order.
The sky above him was clear, and a vibrant sapphire blue. The sun sprayed gold over all in sight, and the roses bled crimson.
It could have been a painting, or a collage made of gemstones.

The people passing him, under the shade of the walkways around the garden eyed him curiously. This was not a place where many were idle. They looked away when they saw the signs of capital-w-waiting. It was not a place one wanted to be Waiting in.
The man’s mind was filled with thoughts and anxieties, memories. Mainly focussed around a small bubbly little girl, full of happiness and energy. The man watched her waddle and bounce her way through his memories, in the way only young children can. Bumbling. That had become her nickname, Bumble. Not Bumble-Bee, that had been deemed unacceptable during a tearful episode that the man had bemusedly listened carefully to, nodding along, though he had never really grasped the meat of the problem. Bumble. Their little Bumble.
He remembered her laugh, so musical and excited – nearly squealing at times when their little Bee got too excited.

Futilely, he tried to stave off the more recent memories. Of whirring, beeping machines. Of fear in those big eyes, of their brightness dulling as exhaustion and pain stained them.
Butterflies, bright white, floated past, but the man, unshaven and red-eyed, paid them no attention.
He stared ahead, unseeing.

“Mr Carraway.”

He stood, blown out of his mental prison with those two soft-spoken words.

“Yes, that’s me.” As if there were anyone else in the garden.

The tall woman opposite him was dressed in a suit much nicer than his own, and held a tablet, slim black glasses perched on her nose. She hesitated.
“Mr Carraway, I’m sorry - we cannot accept your daughter to our trial. I wish you well in your other pathways. I hope her health improves.” She turned, began walking away from the man. He was snapped out of his slack-jawed unbelieving shock by the movement.

“Hey, please, no – wait,” he said, voice breaking, trailing off.

Perhaps the roses had not been bleeding but crying.
For a little bumbling girl with wires and tubes attached to her, in a sterile room. For her last squealing laugh. For the last closing of her eyes.
For the tragedy of the disease that would not Wait for her.

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