August 29

Episode 5: What You Have Gathered From Coincidence
Tuesday, May 22, 2001

“Fran?” The orderly pops her head into the small waiting room as she calls my name. Shakily, I stand up and walk to the door, rubbing my nose and sniffling pathetically. I’m really not trying to play up the whole thing, but I can just feel the stares of the other patients in the waiting room.
I do not get sick often. In point of fact, I hardly ever get sick. When I do, though, it hits me hard. I can power through your basic colds and coughs, I can even handle a day or so out of sorts. Motion sickness is just a minor little inconvenience. But in the unlikely event that I catch something really nasty, I’m down for quite a while as I recover. Kyle says it’s because I have a strong metabolism, but coming from the girl who thinks french fries should count as a vegetable I consider pretty much all her health advice somewhat suspect.
As I pass by the examination mirror in the hallway, I glance at the Steamer on my chest. It’s grown ever so slowly since February, to the point where it’s about fist-sized now. Its red core isn’t yet there, but I have the odd feeling that it’s not too long now before it does open up. I’ve tried to ask Peter about it, but every time I try to arrange a meeting with him, some extremely contrived situation arises to prevent me from making it. The deluge of junk mail was a real subtle hint, I think.

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