Spring is near; I can almost smell it.

The heart clinic is small, filled with the elderly. I’m the youngest person there. It makes no sense, but heart conditions aren’t discriminative. Like bullets, they can’t tell age or sex. I’m nervous, but half of me already expects a clean bill of health. I’m also hungry. The two do not mix well.

It’s been about twelve hours since I last ate. Expecting the EKG, I know they’re going to do blood work, too. Or ask to schedule it. I’m ready. And when the doctor asks me to come in for it, I tell him that I’m ready for it now if he would like to take it. But that’s later. This is now.

It’s still early in the day. The heat, however, suggests otherwise. It’s not unseasonably hot. It is March. I know that heat doesn’t help if you have a heart problem. I’m sympathetic to the elderly women. When I’m called, I get up and follow the smiling technician. She weighs me. 181 lbs. She checks my blood pressure. She then leads me to have the EKG done. It comes out clear.

The doctor sees me shortly. His voice is husky with a Mexican accent. He’s my mother’s doctor and my paternal grandfather’s doctor. He doesn’t ask if I’m related to either. He sees I have a book with me, Darkness on the Edge of Town, so when he leads me to get the blood work done, he talks about reading. How it was much simpler when he was younger. How he had more time. He writes, too. Drat, I should’ve told him about the poetry readings. My mind is too wrapped around the fact that I’m not sick from my heart, but the blood work should tell me something. “Can you come back on Friday?” the smiling technician asks. I nod. Slightly dizzy. Every year the side effects are little worse; the combination of anxiety and the lack of blood always leaves me flushed.

I pay the women up front the $235 I do not have. I make an appointment for Friday at 3:15. They gave me a number to call in case of an emergency. The doctor visits all the local hospitals. Even the good one. I know I won’t ever return to Edinburg Regional if it comes to that.

The heat outside the building has increased. It doesn’t help with the dizziness. My left arm feels sore. My chest is heavy on my body. Still, the EKG came out clean. The symptoms can be attributed to something else. Still, I have to go back Friday and pay another $100 that I don’t have. Times like this, I wish I had a steady writing job, or editing. Anything beats this freelance dream at the moment.

But the heat reminds me. In 10 days Spring will be here. In 10 days, I will no longer be a twenty-six-year-old guy without a clear path to his goals. I’ll be twenty-seven. Three years away from another decade. But the heat, it feels somewhat comforting. Spring is almost here.

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