Audio - The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

Susan Omand finds herself in The Waiting Room, in this audio short from Neil Gardner and Spokenworld...

*on* "Please Wait" *off* *five second pause*

We've all been there, whether in a doctor's surgery, a post office queue or some other place of officialdom, watching that lit up sign, waiting to be summoned forward. And the man in Neil Gardner's short story finds himself in a similar situation, sitting in a plain white room, watching the green sign above the only door flashing on and off in a regular pattern. We hear the thoughts in his head as he wonders how long he has been there, looks round at the white room, with white furniture and his own white attire and ponders his next move. Should he continue waiting or take a chance and go through the door?

This really is a short short story at only 7 minutes in length, but that in no way devalues the writing of author Neil Gardner. The physical descriptions of both room and man are enough for you to picture the scene. More than that though, there is a strong metaphysical undertone to this work. Waiting in whiteness suggests some kind of limbo to me and the line in the story "forever paused between 'Please Wait' and nothingness" is a very visceral one. The man's urge to continue his journey through a door into the unknown means that he is not afraid, just curious. He must be there for a reason, even if he doesn't know it, and the fact that he can't remember how long, or how many times, is an interesting one. This whole story plays very strongly on one of my own belief systems... the fact that there is a waiting room after death (and yes it is white - the Japanese colour for death) only in my head there are two doors - one for a forward journey to the unknown and one for reincarnation to relive this world over again as someone or something else. But I really like what the author has done with the ending of his version of the story. I won't spoil it but I find it incredibly satisfying in a weird way.

So, on the surface, a very simple story, read very matter of factly by Toby Longworth, which was exactly how it should have been presented. It's only when you think about it after the event that it becomes so much more than the sum of its parts.

Definitely a story for those introspective moments.

The Waiting Room is available FREE from Spokenworld Audio here.