It’s Making Me Wait
prompt: No prompt. But I do want to send my best to all those studying for and sitting their final exams. Also, my warmest congratulations to this year’s graduates!
It was cute when it was a ketchup ad. Carly Simon would sing and the waiting kids would drool as they waited for their favorite condiment. Adorable.
The idea of being in a state of quivering anticipation certainly had some appeal. Miranda could admit that. The trouble was, when people pictured that mental state, they imagined a person waiting for something wonderful. So what, exactly, might one say about the nervous, trembling period of waiting that she was currently experiencing? Miranda simply didn’t know. What she did know was that it was awful.
“If there was something I could do,” she said, “it would help. I mean, it would still be awful because, well, it just is. At least I’d feel like I was doing what I could to positively impact the outcome.” She rang one hand through her hair as the fingers of the other drummed nervously on the table. “As it is, all I’m doing is sitting here, twitching.”
“I can see that,” her brother answered. Todd muted the television and looked over at her. “You know, this isn’t about you.”
“I know that,” said Miranda. “Believe me, I know that. It’s just that it means so much to him. He’s worked so hard.”
“And he’s totally capable of handling it,” Todd said. “Max has to be one of the sharpest guys I know. He knew what he was doing when he started this whole thing and he definitely knows what he’s doing now.” He unmuted the television and returned his attention to it. “Now, go take a bubble bath or some other girly thing so I can finish watching the game.”
Miranda dropped on the sofa beside him and gave him a hard shove with her shoulder.
“My batting average has always been higher than yours and you know it,” she said. “Move over and let the real player see the game.”
They sat in companionable silence for a half inning. Then, Miranda flopped sideways onto the empty section of couch beside her.
“I can’t stand it,” she said. “I don’t think I stressed about my own finals as much as I’m worrying about Max’s.”
“Nice to know you have so much confidence in me,” said a voice from the doorway.
Miranda yelped and flew off the couch.
“Max! God, I’m so glad you’re home! How did it go?”
Her husband grunted as he was struck by a hundred thirty-five pounds of flailing wife. He caught her shoulders and grinned down at her.
“I waited around for the professor to grade my exam for me,” he said. “That’s why I’m late. I told him it would really help me if I could take home a grade to my crazy wife.”
Miranda stuck her tongue out at him.
“Eighty-eight percent,” he said, smiling. “No worries.”
Miranda squealed and bounced around the room, clapping her hands. Todd approached and shook Max’s hand.
“Way to go, man,” Todd said. “I knew you’d do it. So, is that it?”
“That’s it,” Max confirmed. “That was the last course I needed for my degree.” He shrugged a little. “I would have liked an A. It was almost a perfect run. But I knew this statistics course would be tough. I’m not complaining.”
“You can put in for the promotion now, right?” Miranda said. “They’ll have to take you seriously now. None of the other candidates have an advanced degree.”
“Yep,” Max agreed. “I’m good to go.” He trapped Miranda in a bear hug and added, “You know what this means, right? It means it’s your turn. MFA in Creative Writing, yes?”
“Yes,” said Miranda, smiling broadly. “Plenty of time for that later. Right now, I’m just so proud of you, Max. You’re amazing.”
“Does that mean we can all settle down and see the rest of the game?” asked Todd.
Miranda laughed and bounced back onto the couch beside her brother.
“I’m totally ready to focus now,” she announced, as Max sat down on her other side.
When she fell asleep on Max’s shoulder fifteen minutes later, her nervous drumming stilled and her lips still smiling, no one was particularly surprised.