While waiting for the ring I was waiting for his call. And while waiting for his call I was waiting for my finger to heal; the doctor had taken the tip and it had not healed, and then I was putting medicine on it twice a day, covering it with a bandage I had to wait hours to take off, each time. I was waiting to eat a snack because I was waiting for a time to take a break, and before that I was waiting for the email to be completed, which is to say I was waiting to finish the email, as I didn’t want it to look like I was too eager. I waited for the reminder while I waited to drink water, and I waited to drink water while, there in the open-plan office, I eavesdropped: He didn’t want to take her down a rabbit hole, and beyond him, another man wanted a woman to know about how many calories (18,000) he had to eat in the wake of the Ironman, which surely took a long time but not as long as training for it must have taken. While waiting for the ring I corrected myself: I was not waiting for the ring but for the promise, which he’d wring from himself if I waited long enough; I was not waiting for the ring nor for the promise but for the forever, which I’d be forever waiting for until an ending showed it had arrived in truncated form, not an eternity but the ever-insistent lack thereof. But that would be long enough, because then I would no longer be waiting; then, I’d take my time.
While waiting for his call I was waiting to stop picking my finger. I was waiting to call the doctor in a month to tell him it had not healed, and I was waiting to refill the prescription, which I’d wait to pick up and then wait for at the pharmacy, where I’d also wait in line, begging myself to stop checking my watch because though waiting takes too long, waiting with a watch takes even longer. While waiting to wait in line for too long I was waiting for the evening, waiting for dinner, which is one thing that never takes too long, though I’m always waiting for it to end so I can start thinking about the next one. While waiting for his call I waited to check my phone to make sure I hadn’t waited so intently that I’d missed the call and then condemned myself to wait for the right time to call him back. I was waiting to admit I missed him because missing him is slow and waiting even slower.
While waiting to stop picking my finger I was waiting to start dreading my upcoming birthday. And while waiting to start dreading my upcoming birthday I started dreading it and waiting not for the dread but for the birthday itself, because once it had come and gone, I would have a whole year to wait for the next one. I was waiting to feel young again; I was waiting for someone to ask me my age. I waited to monetize my personal brand; I waited to subscribe. And as I waited to subscribe I waited to ask a friend for her password so I could stop waiting to start watching the show everyone else had already watched. I waited for the emailed response: My landlord would or would not allow us to have a dog, which was something I’d been waiting for since I moved out of my parents’ house twelve years ago. My landlord took too long to respond to my request to install the window unit but took no time at all once I made an addendum: the kitchen sink was no longer draining. These plumbing issues alarm. Maybe I could pose the dog as a plumbing issue. My tears, I’d say, and they’d stop me right there, aware of my tactic, aware that I’d been waiting, but not so aware of how long it’d been since I lived with a dog and not so aware of how often he (the one I missed) and I referred to the dog we didn’t yet have by name. I was waiting for the dog, which means I was waiting for the landlord, which means I was drafting an email and waiting to click send and picturing that dog but picturing it with us elsewhere, so I was waiting, then, to move into a house.
While waiting for the ring I was waiting for Friday. And while waiting for Friday I was waiting for the Friday before, checking the calendar to make it seem soon. I was waiting for the end of another day, waiting to start paying attention to the smell of pickles in the afternoon, the leg jiggling the shared table, the phone vibrating against the leg’s beat. I was waiting to start wondering what my coworker was laughing about, waiting to see the message pop up. I was waiting to respond. In waiting for the light to shift outside I was waiting for the light to shift inside too. The woman across from me snorted and I looked up, waiting to see anything. I waited to be hungry, waited to have a reason to stand. While waiting for Friday I was waiting for Thursday, and while waiting for Thursday I was waiting for our goodbye, which I knew was always coming but somehow never awaited, never let slide that I was able to enjoy not waiting only when he was around.