Old

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There were 20 tiles, all white except the one with a little crack visible only when looked at carefully; it was different, maybe replaced after the previous one split.

The thin line ran haphazardly from left to right, ending just before the edge where the white cement linked it to the next one.  The joint cement was comparatively fresh here; darkened by dust and time at other places.

The wall and ceiling joined unevenly, an imperfect masonry, the work of an amateur probably as the wall joint at the roof, instead of being a smooth line, appeared zig zagged.

A tiny spider worked furiously on its web, sitting pretty at the trijunction of the two walls and the ceiling, its silk spreading in all three directions, waiting for an odd fly or an insect to fall on the sticky structure.

The place smelled like a mixture of chlorine and floor cleaner with the shiny white door of the entrance guarding the inside but opening with a creaking sound every time it gets pushed or pulled.

The handle on the large door has lost its shine now; metallic scraps fall off it after an unusually extended grind.

The cold chair I was sitting on felt warmer now, my eyes still moved in all directions, scanning every place and person it could spot. 

Someone carrying what looked like blood in small tubes ran past us, while another man held small bottles with a yellowish liquid resembling liquor or is it urine, I have no clue.

The green curtains finally pushed aside, the short nurse with a pad in her hands, called out the name of the next patient.

‘Dayaram’

She almost shouted.

I looked around before realizing it’s my turn. I got up, supporting hands on my knees and then relying on the help of the walker; every step felt like an eternity, my ears continued hearing the long sighs of others waiting behind me.  They were observing the slowest walk they had ever seen, towards the room with the green curtain.

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21 Short and Inspiring Stories

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