two rows in front of me is a middle aged man with rashes all over his face and head. he tries to hide as much as he can with a high collar, scarf and hat. the inflammation is burning red, but he resists the desire to scratch. he looks anxiously around to see if anyone is watching him and then proceeds to stare at the clock.
right in front of me is a wrinkled old man on a wheelchair. he is wearing a faded polo neck shirt and khaki shorts held to his waist by a thin brown belt. his equally aged wife, wearing a pale purple blouse, hovers beside him, her shriveled fingers massaging his temples lovingly. the old man stares idly at the floor tiles.
to my left, is a woman who look like she’s in her early 40s, but her hair is completely grey and white, and neatly clipped to the back of her head. she wears a silk baju kurung with tiny pink flowers and a round silver brooch. she picks at her fingernails while waiting.
to my right, is a fatherly looking man, sitting with one leg crossed over the other, reading a newspaper. he is wearing a simple white t-shirt, faded trousers, generic rubber slippers, but matches this with a fine gold watch with diamond insets on his left wrist. his wife is seated next to him. she’s busy punching they keys on her handphone and replying text messages. their teenage son is on her other side. he has fallen asleep on his mother’s shoulder.
the woman with the grey and white hair gets called. she stand up slowly and adjusts her sarung. i just noticed her smart, but flat sandals as she follows the nurse holding her file.
a young woman with a small boy take her seat. she fusses over the boy, making sure he sits properly in the chair. he is evidently restless, but does not retaliate. he slouches on the chair and phazes into his own universe.
i turn to J. i wonder if other people notice me, i asked him. and if they do, what are they noticing about me?
they probably see a geeky looking librarian, he tells me, with thick framed spectacles and funny hair. and i love you.