The Waiting Room

The unspoken terror of what this meeting might reveal hung in the air between them like a thick London smog. James and Grace, alone in their shared hell, perched side by side awkwardly. His large, neatly manicured hand lovingly cradled her smaller, age worn one. Veins pulsing beneath the skin revealed a tension in their grips. Plastic chairs with arms formed military rows neatly dividing occupants and faced them towards a brightly lit television screen. It was as if the light electronic banter it displayed could anaesthetise their minds and somehow diminish the pain that was to come. Each time the pale wooden door opened a sea of anxious faces turned as one to see whether it spewed out a defeated corpse or a freshly reprieved lamb. Eyes then cast furtively around to identify who the next victim would be.