Side by side in the plastic molded chairs, facing the fish tank, they waited for his doctor to call him. The noise was constant but low frequency, white noise made by machines and overhead lights and the fish tank filter, pierced now and again by voices. The air was cool, cooler really than was comfortable but good for the machines. Outside it was Arizona spring, hot in the sun already but nice in the shadows. Pleasant. Impossible to dress for.
People who had been here before had sweaters. Most of them were decades older than Bobby and Lisa. Lisa felt them watching her, calculating her age and her health, wondering what she was doing there. It would be obvious to them that Bobby was the one. He was pale. His lips even, his nice full lips were pink, like they had been coated with ash. On the other hand, he was laughing.
She was still, trembling just under the skin, freezing. She wanted to put her hand in his but she wasn't sure what he would think. When they were together, they touched, they hugged, sometimes they even kissed and he knew it wasn't going to lead to more but she knew he was always waiting.
He wanted to tell her about an experiment he was running at school.
She wanted to know exactly what was going to happen next -- what was expected of her when the nurse called them, when they took him back for the tests.
He looked bored. He had done all this a hundred times.
Was she supposed to stay at his side?
He ducked his head, the way he had hidden his expression when his hair was longer but it was short now, a new tougher looking phase everyone had advised against and she could see him press his lips together, close his eyes. Then he sat up and said, "Yes, of course. That's why I brought you."
She didn't remind him that she was the one who brought, who drove, who dropped him near the door so he wouldn't have to strain his unreliable heart. She was the one who had to find the parking lot then her way to the admitting desk and the check in desk and all the way back to him here. She had to answer the questions of the receptionists along the way, their bright blue eyelids winking when she said no, friends, he's my best friend.
She was the one who bounced from desk to desk in her sneakers, feeling people watching her, how pink and healthy and strong she was. She was the one who had found him, sitting here by himself, reading People magazine as if it was any where, any waiting room, the airport maybe or even a class whose professor was running late. It's nothing, his smile said when he finally looked up and saw her. Nothing at all.