Finally, there was no turning back; I knew my time was up.
The weather was awash in dusty grey oxygen, though straight up the sun shone strongly. I can’t remember what I was wearing, except that I shivered deeply along the inner ridges of my spine. I do remember wondering why no one needed to clutch their coat, to fend off the worsening chill. Actually, it was more like no one else even had a coat to clutch. Given the freeze I felt, I found that quite odd.
In front of me rose the towering mass of a building. An imposing edifice . . . fairly frightening. For nearly an eternity, I stood several minutes on the white-chalked walkway, a smoothly paved path leading to the sky-high entry doors. I was spellbound by the awful possibilities ensconced within. Lettering of some nature hung high up above; but, I couldn’t make out the meaning. The color was blue, though. Or, white . . . I think . . . maybe red.
Quick as a wink, I found myself at the very edge of the entrance. Panic seeped steadily into the shadows of my chocked consciousness, which was only slightly dispelled by a lady who, with an invitingly friendly face, opened those gargantuan doors for me.
I was in.
Cavernous hallways tentacled outward, from the wide-mouthed main foyer, into darkening recessed pointlessness, and here I was travelling down one of them.
After some distance along, I glanced up at a bright-white-faced clock smiling down at me, perched halfway up one of the graffiti-fed walls and, soon thereafter, entered silently into a very large lobby where a moving mass of people were seated, as if just standing around. I was then told to sit down on a nearby hapless chair, which I did, with dire reluctance.
Little spaces, far away, echoed of continuous crying. White coats and caps appeared and disappeared bringing yet another recalcitrant into the abyss. Just horrible.
So, when one cap-and-coat arrived and grabbed my arm, I decided to resist. No! I wanted no part of being led into one of those tiny merciless cubicles . . . yet to no avail . . . there I was plunked down on a solitary silver stool. With eyes soaked by blurry-to-blind tears and spirit suffocating under seemingly ceaseless stress, I vainly yelled out to no one listening. Then suddenly, there was someone else crowding into that tiny place, I was very sure of it. The next thing I knew, my clothes were being yanked off and some kind of long scary sharp thing, gleaming and dripping, with a life of its own, thrust itself into me.
It was over. I could go home now, with my mother, who looked as relieved as I.
Of course, I now know that no clothes were yanked off, in the exposing of my arm to the doctor’s vaccination needle. But, that is how I recall the going and getting of my first flu shot, ironically at the very same hospital where, after donning my own white cap and coat, I help administer it to other first-timers.