WAITING TO BE SEEN
The hard wooden benches.
The security guard, in his brown leather jacket, flicks through yesterday’s paper. The silent walls. At the reception desk, a man complains that he had to pay for his tests. A fly buzzes in circles, pale faces, lowered heads. A colour television shows news of Brazil. The national anthem is playing. The four-year-old boy is led by his mother to the consulting room. He has no fear. He’s with his mum. The water fountain remains untouched. A girl sips a fizzy drink. The eighty-nine-year-old lady sits, silent, in her wheelchair. She waits for her turn and, no longer having the strength to lift her arm, merely imagines that she is making the sign of the cross. It’s seven minutes to midday at the Bom Jesus health centre.
Translated by Max Parnell
'Waiting to be seen' ('É só aguardar ser chamado') is taken from Clodie Vasli's short story collection Apagando um Cigarro Atrás do Outro (2014)