They told her to wait.
They were busy they said. She tried to protest that her brother was lost, was missing, and surely this must be important?
Wait, they said, we will get to you all in good time.
Hours passed, and they did not come. The bench on which she sat seemed to conspire to be more hard, more uncomfortable, with each passing minute. She had nothing to read, nothing to do. She counted her fingers, once, twice, a hundred times. She patterned songs in her head, tapping each finger in turn, playing an invisible keyboard. She shut her eyes, pretending sleep. She waited.
They did not come. Her brother remained lost. She fretted, waited some more.
Day turned to night. She did not move. She waited.
The next day she tried to call them at the counter. they did not come. She heard the bustle of work in rooms beyond, out of her sight. If she left now, they would surely come, and then she would miss their help to find her brother. He would be lost and it would all be her fault. Her little brother. Who only had her in his life to look after him, the rest of their family gone. So she had to be there, had to get help.
So she waited.
Shadows drew across her life. Hunger came and went, sleep brushed up against her. Time stood still and swallowed her whole, she waited so long. Till eventually she couldn’t even hear life in the police station, she couldn’t hear anything at all.
She’s still waiting there, wherever there now is. Somehow a weave of time ate her up, and she suspects the same happened to her brother. And that he’s somewhere even now, perhaps just a room or two away, waiting for her, just like her. Knowing if he gives up she will be lost and it will all be his fault.
(c ) Helen M Valentina