Waiting

Yuna spent most of her life waiting.

In school, she sat at her desk, trying and failing to listen to her teacher but instead listening to the sound of the clock as it ticked away on the wall, signalling that her time of freedom was inching closer and closer. It wasn’t that she didn’t like school, or even that it bored her. It just felt, to her, like something to be endured: something to be waited through.
Outside of school, she waited at home. She was never quite sure what she was waiting for — perhaps she was waiting, ironically, for school to come back the next morning. More likely, she was waiting to be done with school, so that she could be an adult and move on with “the rest of her life.” Either way, the things she did at home — homework, reading, drawing, watching TV, hanging out with friends — all felt like things she did to pass the time while she waited, rather than things she did for the sake of doing them.

The end of high school came fast enough, and she felt there might be an end to the thing she had waited to be over, but her parents told her, “No. You have to go to college.” She shrugged, accepting, thinking, What’s a few more years of waiting? I’ve waited for eighteen years already.

She waited through college, too. She waited for her classes to be done, she waited for her friends to call her to ask her to hang out, she waited for the right boys to approach her to ask her on a date. That last one never happened, because she didn’t go much of anywhere. She went to class and then back to her dorm room (or later, to her apartment) to wait for the next thing to happen.

Yuna was not a woman of action. Things didn’t happen because of Yuna, they happened to her, and she waited for them to be over. College, assignments, disagreements with her friends, her grief after the death of her mother. Eventually, all of them passed.

Though she could never say she really applied herself, Yuna did well enough in college. She graduated with honors, albeit the lowest honors. Then she found a job. It was not a job to which her degree applied, but that was okay, in the interim, until she found something else. For now, it paid at least enough to live on.

Yuna waited through work. She waited for customers to walk away from her before she dropped her fake smile. She waited for her boss to turn the corner before she leaned against the wall, exhausted and unfulfilled. She waited for her shifts to be over so that she could go home and wait for the feeling of fatigue to fade away, though it never did.

She waited for the day when she found a job she actually wanted to do, one that she would wait for rather than wait through. She waited, too, for a man she could call husband. She waited for forty-five years, but they never came for her.

She waited until she grew too tired to keep going to work, so she stopped. Then she waited only for her savings to dwindle away until she had nothing left. She waited for all of the people who had come to her as friends over the years to pass away, so that she no longer had to work to keep up the relationships.

She waited until she was tired enough one night that she crawled into her bed and, the next morning, failed to get up again.

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