The woman hadn't moved in twenty minutes, the whole time Alison had been there. No one else seemed to have noticed. Not even the two women sat either side of her, whose hair was drawn to her as if she was a balloon that had been rubbed on a pullover.
It wasn't like she was a woman who was just sat very still either. Her lips were slightly open, ready to receive the plastic coffee cup that was tantalisingly close to her mouth. Her eyes were wide open, her intense gaze fixed directly upon Alison.
Alison was nervous enough, even before this unsettling vision. Waiting for test results in a doctors' waiting room was already in her bottom three Fun Things To Do, sandwiched between 'Maths' and 'Death'. This, she did not need.
She walked over to the receptionist.
"Excuse me, do you know how much longer it'll be?"
"I think you're next Miss Cartwright. Shouldn't be long now."
"Thanks ... I'm sorry, could I just ask who that woman is, with the coffee cup? And what's wrong with her."
The receptionist didn't even look over. "I'm sorry, no. Patient confidentiality."
"Yes. Of course."
Alison went and sat in a different seat, in a row behind the woman, away from her glare.
"Mrs Jocanti to room 3, please," came the announcement over the tannoy.
One of the other women stood up, put her sculpture of the woman drinking coffee under her arm, and carried it with her into Consulting Room 3.
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