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Waiting – Juliet Davis

Someone is waiting for me

She is waiting for my text to say when I’ll come home.
I left her waiting while I considered the options…
They are waiting for my chapter.
He is waiting for me to come and pick me up; he is hoping I will come early.

What are the emotions associated with these different forms of waiting, where/when others are expectant, reliant, in suspense?

I am annoyed because I know I need to text to say I haven’t even left yet but in denial of the time. I’m immersed in a conversation, a drink with colleagues, know I should leave. For a moment, I resent the commitment, the responsibility… Why does it matter, for one evening, if I do something that was not already in the diary?

I am stressed because I know the chapter will be late, because they are waiting. It’ll feel better when I communicate to say truthfully where I’m at, though I can’t seem to even find the time for that.

He is my son and I think of him waiting, watching the shapes approach in shadow behind the frosted glass door, guessing if it’s me. I don’t want him to be disappointed, and I actually cannot be later than 6. I hurry, full of the image of him in my mind, inwardly furious at the thoughtlessness of the student that accosts me on the stairs.

These are single banal moments of waiting in everyday life. To wait once is one thing; to wait over and over again, whether for mother, partner, author, colleague, is to threaten a relationship, even an attachment. Waiting, after all, can induce anxiety, arousing a sense of being uncared for or disrespected – that it didn’t matter that they were worried and waiting, loving and needing, or having their own time wasted.

People will only wait, hold the trust or love or faithfulness implied in waiting, for so long – wait for me, or anyone, to stop prioritising work, to decide to commit, to get over it, to take a holiday, to be happy again, to see and focus on them.