The only thing worse than sitting in the clinic, waiting to find out if you'd gotten your seventeen year old girlfriend pregnant was sitting there seeing if some other guy had beaten you to the punch.
Slouched back in the grey plastic-and metal excuse for a chair, Alex stared at the clock. Tick. Tick. Tiiiiick. The doctor hadn't wanted him in the room for the test, and he'd never been more relieved. Sitting here, waiting to find out the news- good news? bad news? He wasn't sure anymore- was nerve wracking enough. Trying to remain objectively cool as possible the whole time beside Jess... it was unfathomable.
Keeping calm even out in the waiting room was proving difficult. He'd paced, only to end up sprinting around the room. Tried to read a magazine, only to stumble across a provocative ad. The type of poses they had models in made him wonder- was their other half out of state for school as well?
So he'd sat there, staring up at the clock, following the path of the second hand. Tick. Tick. Tick. Thunk, the minute hand clicked into place, marking the time. Marking another of the half a million minutes where he didn't know whether he was up or down. Coming or going. Single, or in some sort of committed rut.
It would have easier to he had been the one to screw up. If his crime had been less about travelling a few hundred miles away it wouldn't be so painful. Alex considered what he could have done to deserve it. Slept with a different girl every night of frosh week; tick. Slept with a different guy every night of frosh week; tick. Slept with a different male prostitute every night of frosh week. Tick. Murdered a different male prostitute every night of frosh week. Tick.
Alex rose back up from the hard plastic of the chair to take in the room around him. Happy couples nestled together, hands clasped while their unhappy counterparts did the same. Slightly out of place, a middle aged woman sat knitting a tiny sweater, smiling serenely as their eyes met.
Briefly he considered hurling the chair at the woman. At Jess. At the guy whose backseat she'd been in. Maybe he'd crash the car into the wall of the clinic, screaming like a madman. Alex considered it seriously a moment. Lifted the chair, testing its weight. Glanced at the clock, ticking away. A sight and a half, a young man frozen in place after hefting a chair over his head.
"Sir?" the receptionist spoke up, causing his eyes to flick over. "What are you doing?"
"Nothing." As he contemplated the question, the chair slowly slipped back into being an uncomfortable resting place on the ground. Dusting his hands, Alex shrugged it off. He wasn't doing anything was he? "I'm done here," he tagged on slowly, heading towards the door, pausing only to glance again at the clock, still tracking the time dutifully; oblivious to the turmoil of the patients.
Tick. Tick. Tick.