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Hello. - By Jamie Reese Zimmerman

I'm sitting with my legs crossed in the lobby before my procedure.

My fingers fidget with stale air.

Oceans of tears hang behind my eyes.

Waterfalls of failed attempts at figuring out my body's ailments follow me down the hallways of the hospital filling the space I'm sure gratitude should fill.


My name gets called from a voice belonging to a body that not once looks me in the eyes. She checks me in without a hello, how are you, or the slightest crack of a smile. I want to tell her that I need her smile right now. That the past year of my life has been riddled with moments like this, hollow interactions surrounding deep cuts made by weapons unseen, but instead I answer her questions as quickly as she asks them. Then head back to the lobby and sit with my mom.


When my name is called for the second time, a lady about my size and height offers the pleasantries I longed for during check in. I smile and tell her, "I'm okay," thinking that saying it aloud may be the magic trick to make it true. She guides me down a florescent hallway and points to the first door on the right. We enter a pale room with machines as tall as basketball players but far less friendly. 


There's one maroon chair, a sink, and no place to put my clothes. I put the medical gowns on, one facing front and one facing back as directed. Then I sit my black jeans, floral bra, and gray t-shirt next to my dignity on the cold hard tile floor.


And I think, at least she said Hello.


Jamie Zimmerman has spent her adult life jumping back and forth from the East to the West Coast of the United States more times than she would like to admit. She has found love in four paws and has found resilience and patience while befriending the discomfort of dealing with a chronic illness over the past two years. She writes because she is convinced her fingers often know more than her brain does and yearns to be let in on their secret wisdom. Jamie has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Oregon State University, a Master of Science in Applied Gerontology, and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. She commonly writes creative nonfiction and poetry for both her own heart and nonprofit organizations and serves her community as a yoga and meditation teacher.

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