The walls are painted white. Too white that it makes me uncomfortable. It reminds me of being alone with no one to catch you when you are falling. But if it was blue or some other color, I probably would just find other fears to attach to the simple color of the wall. I can deal with the floor because it seems more tangible. I can feel it beneath my feet, when I walked into the room, signed in, and sat on the cold, hard chairs. I can at least still feel the floor, to let me know that I won’t fall into a bottomless pit from which there is no return. The walls feel as though their radiance is closing in on me, making me feel even worse than I already do. I’m here alone, not by choice but because of other people’s choices. I don’t really have anyone that I can call in the middle of the night for an emergency, much less have them here waiting with me in this humid yet freezing room. Maybe it’s just my nerves. I’ve tried telling myself that for the past ten minutes, but somehow when the body doesn’t want to listen to the brain, I begin to shake with anxiety.
I never expected anyone to wait here in this room with me, although it would’ve been nice. This is not the first time I have to be alone and independent and strong, and it certainly won’t be the last. But this is the first time I’m experiencing this ordeal, and to be honest, I don’t feel very independent and strong. I feel weak and fragile, like the time when I was a child and I had a terrible flu that hospitalized me. I remember clutching my worn-out doll with my arms, refusing to let go because she was the only thing that stuck by my side. Daddy isn’t around anymore; he left in a drunk-fueled rage one night when I was only four-years-old. And Mommy works around the clock. I think she now has three jobs if I’m not mistaken. Although we live together, we live alone. Since I work during the day, and Mommy works pretty much 24/7, we’re not even roommates; we’re more like strangers that don’t even have the privilege of passing one another in the hall of our cramped but sturdy apartment. I’m grateful for what I have, and I feel somewhat grateful for what I have right now as I sit in this tidy room that smells of bleach and fresh pine aerosol.
My boyfriend, well now ex-boyfriend, isn’t appreciative of what I have going on inside of me. He says I’ve become moodier and distant and crying all the time. But he just doesn’t get it. But I suppose I don’t expect anyone in my life to get it. This is a journey I have to travel alone; I only wish there is a map to tell me what exactly to do and if I’m doing it right. I guess that’s life as a young woman, or at least in my experience it is. I’ve seen the other girls around me grow up to be well-adjusted members of society, with fancy jobs and their rich boyfriends buying them whatever they please. It’s not that I don’t appreciate my job at the gas station; it’s that I just can’t seem to afford much other than what I need to provide for myself. Which is enough for me, I’m not one to complain or moan about lost luxuries, because I’ve never had the privilege of having them in the first place. How can you mourn something you’ve never had? Which brings me to the reason I’m even waiting in this godforsaken room. Exactly. How can I mourn something I haven’t even had?
I suppose one could surmise that there is a bountiful sky where the sun always shines, and the flowers bloom and people ride their bikes without any worries at all. But all that life scares me, to be completely honest. It scares the shit out of me. Life can go awry so quickly; in an instant life can become something completely alien to anyone. At least that’s what happened to me. I don’t live in that utopia, but I was at least satisfied, or copacetic at the very least, with what I had. Then in one day, it seemed to all vanish, including my boyfriend of two years. I mean, he cheated on me a few times, but in his defense, I maybe deserved it, on some level, somehow. But I love him…or loved him. No, I still love him because love doesn’t fade away within a day. Eventually, maybe it will. I don’t really know. He’s my first and only boyfriend. His words still sting: “worthless”, “ho”, “white trash”, “stupid”. I know they’re only words. But still, they hurt.
I feel like vomiting. Not because I’m reflecting on my life in this sanitized waiting room, but because I’ve been vomiting almost every morning. I know it’s natural, but it still sucks any way you spin it. I rushed to the restroom and knocked on the door.
“Occupied,” a woman’s voice said.
I can’t contain the contents of my stomach any longer, so I scan with urgency for a wastebasket. I saw one in the corner, near a large artificial plant. I sprinted and made it just in time to empty my vomit into the trashcan. The lady at the front desk asked if I was okay and needed anything. I didn’t want to bother anyone more than I already had, so I just told her no, thanked her, and sat back down. I feel better now that the inferno in my stomach has gone away, but I still felt alone, empty, and afraid. But then the door leading to the offices opened.
“Elizabeth Harris?” a young, bright-eyed technician called for me.
“Here,” I stood up and followed her to the back.
She led me to a small room on the left side of the corridor.
“The doctor will be with you shortly,” she said, her voice as monotonous as the artificial plant I vomited next to.
The doctor arrived not five minutes later and asked, “Before we proceed, I must ask once again, are you certain about this?”
“Yes, doctor. I can’t have a baby. I just can’t,” I cried, secretly hoping I’d have the strength to change my mind at the last minute once I sat on the cold, steel table, padded with a razor-thin sheet of wax-like paper.
“Then we shall begin.”
I suppressed my tears and wished I had more strength. But it never came. And neither will the life that is growing inside of me.