Friends Forever

The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, all the while the neighborhood of Roseville was slowly coming to life. At least it would have been if it were any other day than a Saturday, but with so few getting up for work or school, Mike found himself one of the poor souls with a reason to awaken on this beautiful day.

Mike slammed down on his clock radio, silencing the earsplitting beeping coming from its speakers. As he slowly pried his eyes open, he was greeted by the subtle light of the new day pouring in through the cracks of his blinds. He peered at the clock radio, seeing 8:00am across the digital surface. He slowly crawled out of his bed and headed for his bathroom to begin his morning routine. With a slow apathetic creep, Mike completed his morning chores of hygiene and comfort and then headed down the stairs, this time with a bit more perk in his step, now expecting a much needed breakfast.

Upon reaching the bottom Mike headed straight for his kitchen. He was slightly disappointed to find that his mom had not yet started breakfast, since it would be a few hours until his sister woke up, so he would have to make do with what was at his disposal. He walked over to a cabinet and pulled out a box of cereal from within. Before he even managed to the set the box on the counter, his mom interrupted him.

"Michael, what do you think you're doing with that box of cereal?" His mom asked with a typical maternal tone of voice.

"I was… going to eat it?" Mike responded slightly confused at the question.

"Think again." His mom said looking for something in her purse. "Don't tell me you already forgot why you woke up so early."

"I didn't forget!" Mike said just a little too defensively. "We're going to see the doctor." Mike said almost proud of one upping his mother.

"Yep, and you're getting blood taken, so no breakfast." His mother said catching Mike slightly off guard.

"Oh." Mike said slightly disappointed. "I was really hungry too…"

"Don't worry, we'll stop and pick something up on the way home, if you're a good boy." Mike's mother said with an almost patronizing tone.

"Really, mom…" Mike said, hardly pleased with the joke.

"Ha ha, don't worry, I was just kidding." His mother said laughing, clearly the only one deriving pleasure from the friendly ribbing.

"So what time is the appointment?" Mike asked unable to get his mind off of his breakfast.

"It's at nine o'clock. We'll need to leave soon; hurry up and finish getting ready." His mother said still distracted by the loose item in her purse.

"I already am ready; you're the one who needs to finish getting ready." Mike said with a dull expression on his face.

"Potato patato, Mike," his mother responded as she began to ascended the steps in the household.

"But wait, that doesn't make any-"Mike began, but his mother had already walked away. Mike simply sighed and sat down at the kitchen table, resting his chin in his hands, and thinking about what his friends were doing. Then it dawned on him, they were all probably sleeping.

Within a few minutes his mother was all ready to leave, so they headed out the door and began their drive to the doctor's office. There was little said between Mike and his mother on the ride there. There was no bad blood between them, but since Mike often felt his mom treated him too immaturely, he found himself, much to his mother's discontent, relatively quiet around her. Granted they did converse enough around the house, it was typically standard conversation. For the most part though, Mike kept his private life to himself. He didn't need his mom for emotional support anyway, since he was much more stable than most people he knew, including his friends.

When they finally arrived at the doctor's office they both walked in, seeing a large sum of people taking up all the chairs. Mike cursed in his head. Not necessarily because the chairs were all occupied, but because all of those people had gotten here first, which meant it was going to be a long wait.

"Just in time," his mother said almost ironically looking at her thin wrist watch. The same watch that his sister had gotten her for Christmas last year. Mike couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealously whenever he looked at the watch, because all he had gotten her that year was a card. His mother gave him a quick smile as they stood awkwardly in the doctor's office. It wasn't long until someone was called back, but sadly it was only a single individual so only one seat had opened up. To be polite, his mother had offered him the seat, but of course Mike insisted she take it. He didn't really want to sit down, but even if he did, he probably would have given it to her anyway.

That person had only taken maybe five minutes until they left, most likely getting blood drawn like Mike. That was when another individual had gotten called back. While there was indeed a seat left for him to take, it was in between his mother and another fairly overweight man. Mike decided to keep standing, but his mom whispered to him, telling him there was a seat available as if somehow he hadn't noticed. Mike simply gave her a slight waving sign telling her that he was fine, since he didn't want to break the almost unnatural silence in the room full of people; people he couldn't help but feel were looking at him, the only person standing. Of course, much to his discord, his mother insisted upon him sitting down. Although Mike had no urge to sit down, he now felt he had no choice. If he continued to decline he might offend the overweight man, as well as his mother. So Mike took a seat and was a little relived since there seemed to be more room available than he had first taken notice to. At first, Mike was very annoyed at what his mother had done, putting him in a position like that, even though his mom probably hadn't even realized she had done it, but after awhile he was quite glad he listened, since he soon found himself much more comfortable sitting.

A couple of minutes later he saw a lady walk in with what appeared to be a child around the age of four. At first Mike thought nothing of it, but he soon found himself in an awkward position. When he had arrived, there had been only three men in the room, him, the overweight man, and another adult. The other adult had been called back within the last few minutes, so only he and the overweight man remained. Given the overweight man's heavy breathing, Mike was the obvious candidate to offer the madam a seat. Mike hated situations like these because they made him feel extremely uncomfortable. While his conscious reasoned with him and told him to stand up and offer the seat to the lady, he couldn't get over the awkward feeling of doing it. He knew people would look at him and think "What a gentleman," but was also a little worried that might look at him and see a loser or a typical chauvinistic white knight right out of a medieval fantasy book. So he sat there, trying to look as though he hadn't noticed the ladies presence, as his inner self screamed at him to be a man. Luckily, the other man had emerged from the heavy door that separated him from the doctor, thus causing another individual to be called back. The lady took the seat as soon as it became available. Although Mike didn't look up to check, he felt like the lady had given him a glance, a glance that said "This is what the world has come too." Maybe it was just his paranoia.

As seconds turned into minutes, and the patients slowly began to disappear, Mike slowly began to doze off. It wasn't long at all until he was woken up by his mother. It was then he realized that he had fallen asleep and somehow ended up with his head up against the overweight man. Mike quickly readjusted his head. Suddenly back to being extremely uncomfortable, Mike sat staring at his hands that were rested on his lap. After that he wasn't too worried about anymore accidental naps since he couldn't have gone back to sleep if he tried.

Much to Mike's irritation, he found that they had apparently arrived directly after the overweight man, since he was the last called in, and only to add to Mike's ever-growing anxiety, he couldn't help but look around the doctor's office, seeing no one except the woman he had failed to offer his seat to earlier, still waiting. She had been the only other person to arrive since he had entered the original mass of people. The irony of the situation aggravated him to no end. After about ten minutes of waiting on the overweight man, Mike began to become antsy. What could possibly be taking so long? Chances were he was probably just getting blood drawn anyway. Then again, he probably had plenty of questions regarding all the things he was at risk of, such as diabetes, heart disease, and the various brands of cancer that come with eating yourself to death. Typically, Mike tried not to have such offensive thoughts, but he was getting quite annoyed at being in this doctor's office, so he figured he could be sorry about it later.

Finally, the overweight man left the doctor's office with a fire and speed that could only be described as rubbing two sticks together and Mike was called in. Although still tired and hungry, Mike's disposition quickly changed. He was in a good mood because he had gotten called back, and knew that he was one step closer to getting out of this depressing prison. As he walked through the large door with his mother he was greeted by a large hallway, and was lead into a small room towards the end of the building by a nurse. The doctor was quick and precise, much to his pleasure, and after exchanging a quick greeting handed him a bottle and pushed him in the direction of the bathroom. Although Mike certainly was not in any particular need for the bathroom, given he had not eaten nor drank anything beforehand, he did his best to supply a reasonable amount of urine. He placed the cup of urine into a small wall cubby that had a large sign reading "PLACE URINE IN HERE. DOCTOR WILL COLLECT THEM," right next to another cup of urine tinged with the color red. Mike had wanted to laugh at the ridiculousness that was the sign, but he soon found himself wanting to squirm at the sight of the unhealthy urine (most likely produced by the overweight man).

After washing his hands, Mike emerged from the bathroom, only to see the doctor fiddling with some forms.

"Please take a seat, Michael." The old woman said, pointing to a black chair. A chair painted black by the tears of the forsaken children who hated it so. The chair specifically made to suspend your arm for when they took blood or administered shots. No longer in any hurry to continue his visit, he sat in the chair, trying to hide his displeasure from both his mom, as well as the doctor (who seemed to be paying him no mind).

"Now don't worry Michael, this won't hurt that bad." His mother said, sensing his nervousness, and knowing about his mild fear of needles.

"I know, mom." Mike said almost monotone.

"It will only be a pinch, and it will be over in a few seconds." His mother said continuing.

"I know, mom."

"He's terrified of needles." His mother gabbed to the doctor.

"I am not terrified of needles!" Mike said rather annoyed at his mother's character damaging social faux pas. "I just don't like them, like most people."

"Alright, alright, forget I said anything." His mom said in a tone that somehow made him look bad.

Mike simply sighed at the embarrassment his mother was causing him. Shortly after the mild confrontation with his mother, Mike's doctor walked over to him.

"Don't worry; this won't hurt much at all." The doctor said as she took his arm and stretched it out.

"Okay." Mike said slightly embarrassed at his stomach, which had made a loud growling noise in response.

"Don't worry, I'll make this quick." His doctor said laughing.

The doctor tied off his arm, found a vein, and began to fiddle with the syringe. As soon as Mike saw the needle, his eyes widened. The initial shock of seeing it, knowing it was going to be shoved in his skin; he seemed unable to get over it. She approached his arm with the sharp point and he closed his eyes. He felt a slight pinching sensation that slowly got worse and worse as the needle remained in his arm. At first it wasn't too bad, but within a few seconds it began to feel like the needle was going to come out the other end. Luckily, the blood drawing only lasted a few seconds, and Mike opened his eyes to see a vial of his blood resting on a towel covered in empty, labeled bottles. The doctor covered the small wound with a cotton ball, and held it down with an adhesive strip.

Mike and his mother left the doctor's office, breathing in the fresh, outside air, even if the heat was somewhat stifling.

"So, where should we go to eat?" Mike's mother asked him.

"Probably the closest place we can find." Mike said as he attempted to lift his arms up to hold them behind his head, but quickly stopped by a slight pain from where he had gotten the blood taken.

They made their way to the car, both climbing inside and both taken aback by the outstanding amount of heat that had accumulated inside.

"So Michael," his mom began as she blinked her rapidly drying eyes. "How is school going?"

"Oh, it's going alright, Same ol', same ol'." Mike responded.

"I assume you're still getting high grades?" Mike's mom asked curiously.

"Yeah," Mike answered.

"Oh, that's good to hear. Has anything interesting happened at school?" She asked trying to start up a conversation.

"Uhh, not really. Well, actually, I remember something that was kinda funny in English." Mike said with a slight bit more enthusiasm.

Mike's mother sat in the car listening intently as her son told his story. While Mike was eager to get to their next destination, his mother felt as though they were already there.