So Young and Sick

I sit in the doctor’s waiting room,
swiping through Instagram and wondering
what should I post next?
A lady is staring at my rainbow socks,
she thinks I’m a weirdo.
She doesn’t know the symbolism,
I represent my solidarity through my feet.

I stare at the medical posters on the wall,
I count on my fingers all the symptoms I have.
I can’t trust my mind in these matters
sometimes it makes up diseases on its own.
The doctor calls my name and 20 eyes are on me.
Someone whispers, ‘So young.’

I stand up and pull the door that says ‘push’ in bold letters.
Someone gasps at my stupidity,
others look at me with sympathy.
The ward boy scans me with his piercing gaze as if
mentally making a note of
how sick I look on a scale of 1-10.

I clench the handkerchief in my sweaty hands,
it’s a thing I do to calm myself down.
‘Is there anyone else with you?’ the ward boy asks
I whisper a ‘no’. I’m alone, I say.
The word leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I weigh each letter in my mind
Why does it feel so heavy?
I go inside and wait for the doctor to examine me,
another day of bitter medicines and illegible handwriting.
The stethoscope on my chest is weighing me down.
Lub-dub. Lub-dub.

My heart beats like it wants to come out of my chest.
I wonder what will it feel like when it finally stops.

Saman Jawaid is a first-year student studying at the University of Delhi while dealing with the vicissitudes of life. She loves writing, reading, and listening to Lorde on loop. She can be found binge-watching ‘The Take’ on YouTube or discussing pop culture with her sister. You can find her on Instagram @samfrom_anotherland.

Featured image credit: Sandy Millar/Unsplash