great moments in radiation

The registration line moves quickly at Edward Hospital. I stand back a bit, arms crossed, a bit grungy in my blue hoodie and jeans. I have that dry salty smell a man gets in the gym, for I have not showered yet today.

He comes up and stands immediately behind me, like we are in line for free tickets, and the closer he gets the better the resulting seats will be. I turn and give him a knowing glance, smiling through my closely cropped grey beard.

“I wouldn’t stand this close to me.” I tell him softly.

He is in his fifties like me, clean shaven, grey glasses, unlike my IT stink, he is all Naperville executive.  His eyes open and we stand man to man, my knowing glance with my slight smile, and his serious expression with wide worried eyes.

“You wouldn’t?”, he questions

Just the slightest move of my head, telling him no.

He stiffens, I can see his flesh pull away, his shoulders roll back and he slowly steps back, one, two, three until I again nod, the smallest of affirmatives and we stand at peace.

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