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Published on:
November 20, 2018
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2 min.
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The Check-Up

Sometimes watching people is better than a good book - even a very a good book.
Rachel Joy Welcher

I made him go in for a check-up. Seemed like the wifely thing to do, especially for a man who has spent the last four years a widower. In between complaining about being poked and prodded by a doctor just for my “peace of mind,” he paused for a brief moment, looked me in the eye, and said, “Thank you for taking care of me.” He proceeded to inform me that he has no intention of getting a camera shoved up his butt anytime soon. “I understand,” I said, fully planning to research what age men should get their first colonoscopy, later, when he’s not around. 

In the waiting room, I held my copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel in my lap and looked up to see who else was waiting. I spotted an older woman sitting in the middle of the room, looking down at her hands, which she was rubbing together nervously. I caught her eye and said “Hello. How are you?” “Hello,” she smiled. “Do I know you?” Suddenly self-conscious about my awkward attempt at friendliness, I responded: “Oh, no. I was just saying hi.” “Oh,” she said, smiling, “I thought maybe I knew you but had just forgotten. At my age, that happens a lot,” She laughed then said: “Thank you.” The interaction seemed to distract her from ringing her hands and she looked at the wall in front of her with a lingering smile. During that half hour, more and more elderly folks walked in, filling up the seats around her. They all seemed to know each other, and I pretended to read my book while listening to their soft chatter about summer gardens. Sometimes watching people is better than a good book - even a very a good book. 

When Evan finally walked back into the waiting room, he had a single bandage around one arm, where they had drawn his blood, and he looked content. “How’d it go, babe?” “Not too bad,” he said. “She hit my knees with the reflex thingy,” he added. “That’s kind of fun,” I said. “Yep,” he replied, then grabbed my hand as we walked across the parking lot to our car in the blistering heat of July. 

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Rachel Joy Welcher
Rachel Joy Welcher is an editor-at-large at Fathom Magazine. She earned a Master’s degree in theology from the The University of St. Andrews, taught high school English for ten years, is a published poet (Blue Tarp, Finishing Line Press), and writes for magazines such as Cordella, RELEVANT, and The Gospel Coalition. She lives with her husband Evan, who is a pastor in Glenwood, Iowa.

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