By Vita Forest
Ewan sits still on the black-leather-excuse-for-a-couch. Why did they choose it? Certainly not for comfort. His buttocks hardly make an indent in the seat, there is so much stuffing. And the backrest is so far back that he has to sit forward, perched on the front, as if he is about to take off. Which he is, he supposes.
The receptionist smiles at him again. He nods to her.
No, she could not help him. He’s just waiting. No, he would not like a magazine or a glass of water.
He puzzles her obviously. So be it. He sits so still and stares out, past the mockery of an ikebana on its pedestal, through the glass doors to the people rushing by outside. Marching up and down the street, eyes glued to their phones. It was a wonder they didn’t bump into each other. It was quite a skill really, when you thought about it.
He senses it to his right, just in front of the lifts. Pride of place. Why was it here in this sterile waiting room? What did it add to the ambience? But he would not look at it. Not yet. It might put him off his game.
He will sit and wait, thank you. He will wait until the time is right. Ewan is tall and thin and bald. His cranium catches the light that bounces off the streaky marble floor. Everything is so hard here, every surface, every face. But perhaps he is just imagining that. He feels a pulse throbbing in his left temple. He rubs his knees with his hands and takes a deep breath. He nudges the bag with his right foot, feels the hard edge of the axe with his shoe.
The lift dings. He looks over and through his creation. The lift door opens, but it is not him. Not the doctor who walked around the gallery waving his important hands at Ewan’s work. Not the one who chose his sculpture for this lobby (to go with the uncomfortable couch and the awful ikebana – what was he thinking?) Not the one who took the sculpture and ignored the invoice. The invoice that Ewan needs to be paid. The doctor who is not available when Ewan calls, who will return his call soon. The one who took his work, the work that is standing before the lift, like a dare.
Ewan blinks and sees that the waiting room is free of waitees. It is just him and the receptionist now. This is it, he thinks. He bends down and slowly unzips the bag at his feet. His eyes flick up but she is on the phone, tapping away at the slick computer on her desk.
He grasps the handle of the axe and with one fluid movement lifts it out of the bag and charges at the sculpture. He sees it now, its beauty, its perfection, the love he poured into it. He sees it all, just before the axe swings forward and hits home.