Raquel sat in the lobby of the doctor’s office. Her leg jiggled and jiggled, bouncing up and down with the speed of a jackhammer.
She had chosen the best seat available, which is to say, one of the few seats separated from the other sick people. To her right, an empty chair, then a middle-aged woman coughed into her hand, her face red, her throat sounding raw. The cough was a wet, hacking cough, like her throat was full of frogs fresh from the pond.
To Raquel’s left, separated by one chair, a man was scratching at his hand. His scratching was vigorous, to the point where Raquel wasn’t sure if there was a rash or not; the skin was raw, and bleeding in some places, but still the man scratched.
Raquel gripped her bag a little closer to her, hoping not to infect it with some terrible disease. She only wanted to get a small lump checked out, not contract malaria and ebola and probably flesh-eating disease. She tried to make herself smaller, but still the woman hacked and coughed, and the man scratched, shedding skin and bleeding a little more. His scratching moved up his arm, and the woman’s cough was louder, longer, more hacking – she doubled over as she cleared some of the phlegm from her throat.
“Raquel Gonzalez?” the nurse at the door said.
Raquel stood and hurried toward her, breathing a sigh of relief, adding the question of what she may have now picked up to her list for the doctor.