Joe glanced at his watch. And then waited some more.
With the kids at school the house was quiet. Unnervingly quiet. Briefly wished that he had agreed to getting a pup. Then immediately regretted not telling Clare the truth about when the results were due. Why burden her until they knew for sure?
Tried again to concentrate on the book but almost immediately imagined several Consultant Doctors sitting around a table staring glumly at papers. So he put the book down and walked to the kettle. It was still warm from the last boil.
Checked the phone for missed calls. Nothing.
Glanced at the mobile reception – full bars. Sighed.
He emptied the kettle and half filled it with fresh water from the tap. While it began to heat he wondered could the condition be hereditary. Was that even a thing? Joe reached for the biscuit tin, paused momentarily, then took out two chocolate covered cookies.
Coffee in one hand, phone in the other, he scrolled through pictures of family, and in particular his twin brother Larry. They’d been so close from childhood until career separated them to different parts of Europe. But at this moment, waiting for test results, it felt the most unnatural thing in the world, to be apart from Larry. At a time like this.
3.30pm. What was taking so long? They should know by now. He’d been promised a call before 3pm and had taken the afternoon off work to be able to process the results.
Joe felt his heartbeat increase and he loosened his shirt. A familiar weight settled in the base of his stomach and blossomed into heavy dread that sent his adrenaline tingling. He closed his eyes as the panic closed in around him. Felt detached from his body, helplessly paralysed, muscle frozen. Heart pounding.
In. Out. In.
Several minutes passed before he felt steady enough to rise off the couch and walk to the medicine cupboard. Fumbled tablets into his mouth and washed them down with cold water. Closed his eyes and breathed heavily. Breathing calmed. Eyes eventually regained focus. Drank more water.
The phone rang. Larry Mob flashed across the screen. He answered before the second ring.
“Christ Larry, I thought you’d never ring, how’d it go?”
Silence at the other end.
“Joe, it’s Brenda here,” followed by a sob.
Joe began to feel his legs weaken and pulled out a chair from the kitchen table.
“Brenda – what’s happened?”
“It’s not good Joe. They took him straight in for emergency surgery.”
“It’s not good Joe. It’s not going good.”