Exercise 5: Write about a time you felt trapped. Feel free to fictionalize or keep it real. This can be interpreted either literally or metaphorically.
My appointment was at 10a.m. It is now 10:45. I have yet to understand how the appointment system works with doctors. This is probably the only time I hope the nurse never comes into the waiting room with the clipboard, looks down and reads aloud, "Moira Langston!" I'd rather keep waiting, forever maybe, or at least until I realize this is all a mistake.
There are several other girls in the waiting room. I keep looking them each over, questioning why they are here. HIV tests? The “morning after” pill? An unusual rash, downstairs... I'll never know. It could be simple reasons, like getting a pap smear or a birth control prescription. I do know that not one of them could possibly be here for the same reason I am. The amount of fear in my eyes is reflected in none of their glossy corneas. No one is squeezing the edge of the chair, everyone is breathing calmly. I feel as though I should refrain from breathing. My chest, so tight, so heavy, as if to say "Drop dead! There's no more room in here for that air intake!" I almost am wishing right now I could comply with that demand. However, suffocating myself in Planned Parenthood is not my preferred way to exit this world.
God. The door handle is turning... There she is! The dreaded nurse, holding the clipboard, looking down at it. Right as she entered the waiting room I suddenly began to race forward into an imagined scene of my flinging myself out from the chair and sprinting out the door, running full force down the hallway of the building until I come to a glass door that says PUSH across the handle and a big red EXIT sign above it. I throw my body into the door, and as it opens I burst out into the street. I find the sidewalk and catch my breath. My car is parked across the road. I walk over to it, get inside, start her up and begin the fifteen minute drive back home. All I feel is complete freedom, and am overjoyed with accomplishment, proud of my courageous escape. Five minutes from home, it dawns on me he is inside waiting for my return, there for support. He expects that I will come home and say "I did it." and then burst into hysterics. Instead, I walk in and look him straight in the eye and say "I'm sorry.", and he will instantly know I backed out. I can't imagine what would happen after that...
"Moira Langston!" the nurse yells out, looking around at our faces expecting someone to arise.
Shit. This is the part where the imagine scene above should now start becoming a reality. I knew it down inside, my gut was screaming for me to run. I get up and slowly walk towards the nurse. I am weak, a sucker for love, and a complete fool. It was being proven to me as I followed her back to the yet another room where you have to wait, this time for the doctor. I have the biggest urge to throw up right now. This is fucking insane. My mind is so clogged with thoughts, racing in all directions crashing violently into one another causing my head to throb. "I need some fucking Valium." I whispered to myself. I need something to suppress my nerves as I am about to face an hour of complete hell. I would have taken several before I arrived but the procedure will not be carried out if the patient is under the influence of any drugs when they arrive to the appointment. It was in the papers I signed.
The nurse is back. "Please remove your clothes and put this on. Then just open the door so we know when you're ready and the doctor will be right with you". She exits, and I grab the gown off the chair. Its foundation is so weak. The fabric, so thin from wear and washings, it must have been washed more times in the last month than my shirt has been in a year. I truly hate these gowns. It's bad enough being here, now I have to freeze my naked little ass off while I await impending doom. The tile is bitterly cold against my bear feet as I walk over to open up the door a little. "It's just a cold world", I think to myself.
This is the most agonizing part. The silence of the room reverberates within my ears, and all I can do now is listen to my thoughts, which are too loud to drown out. Once again I begin to consider another daring escape. Who cares if I stumble out into the street completely nude underneath a hospital gown? Fuck it. I would much rather endure a few minutes of embarrassment and humiliation than have to live with this awful, wretched, immoral decision that will humiliate me for the rest of my life.
Yet again, there is no dashing for the door. I just patiently wait, completely immobilized by fear and anxiety. I am obligated to go through with this. I agreed that I would, and I love him. He told me I'd ruin his life if I didn't do this, that he just couldn't handle it. Now it is here, in this room waiting for the doctor that I finally realize that it is my life I am going to ruin instead, all because of my love for Ian. How fucking stupid...
The doctor enters, and stares at me as he takes a seat. He rustles through a bunch of forms and then looks up at me. "How are we today?" he asks. For a minute I say nothing, because I can't conjure up an answer. I hear "Not well" leave my lips, with complete sarcasm, followed by a nervous chuckle, then a deep sigh. Things get serious. Here he goes, beginning to explain that although I have already spoken with a counselor and the nurse about the decision and think this is what's best for me, if I am having even the slightest of second thoughts or a change of heart I am not to feel forced into anything. "If this is how you're feeling I'd recommend taking a little more time to think things over." I could feel the tears, already there screaming and beating at the backs of my eyes vigorously fighting to break through and make a run for it down my cheeks. Words all of a sudden felt like huge chunks of vomit in my throat, begging to be released. I swallowed deeply, stuffing down all the urges to purge my raging emotions. "It has to be done, I have made my decision." I replied, shaking my head and giving a little shrug to my shoulders. I wondered if he noticed these signs of doubt, but he made no effort to read too far into my response. He handed me a disposable Dixie cup and I was given Misoprostol, informed it would aid in dilating the cervix.
After that, everything happened very quickly. It had been explained to me over the phone prior to my arrival that if a driver wasn't present to take me home, I would not be allowed any sedation. The nurse suggested that I call someone to pick me up. I thought about calling him for a second, and then declined the offer. I deserved to endure the horrors of the procedure to the fullest, and this was my mental justification for opting out of taking any sedatives. The doctor now extended the offer once more and I declined once again. I’d hear every noise, feel everything enter and exit, and experience every ounce of pain and discomfort. Pinching and pulling, pressure, scraping. Muscles relaxing and tensing…
It only took ten to fifteen minutes. That’s what it said in the handout. Within this time span I was placed on the examining table, the one you lay on at any other gynecologist’s office. That annoying paper that crinkles loudly (it always reminds me of the disposable toilet seat covers in public restrooms), wrinkling beneath me. I can feel it touching the bare parts of my bottom in places where my gown has risen up as I’d laid back. “You need to bring your bottom all the way to the edge, and place your feet in the stirrups” a new nurse told me. She kept telling me to “just relax”.
My breathing became rapid, and my heart beat with such force I thought it might burst through my rib cage, tearing itself free from connected veins and arteries, and spill out onto the floor. The nurse sat next to me and went to grab my hand, but I calmly rejected by pulling it away and placing it on my chest. I wasn’t relaxing my clenched hand under any circumstances. Within my fist, squeezed by the folds of my palm was a tiny green charm in the shape of a four-leaf clover. He gave it to me last week “for good luck”. I’d kept in my pocket every day since then, and when I was told to remove my clothes and put the gown on I took it out and have since been clenching it in my fist. It was the closest I could get to have him be there with me, but I knew he wasn’t there and knew he should have been. If it had been him offering to hold my hand, I’d be clenching that instead, not a silly little plastic charm that came with one of his shirts. I chose to go alone, and therefore was not angry or blaming him for his absence. I still don’t fully understand what I was thinking in showing up here with nothing but that charm.
Something cold and metal entered my vagina. I recognized it’s shape and feel from the usual trips to the gyno. “You’re going to feel some pressure as I open this up. I’m just going to numb your cervix. You’ll feel a little pinch” the doctor explained while inserting a syringe into my canal. Fucking little pinch? That was the worst shot I’d ever been given. It felt nothing like a shot in the arm. Holy fuck. My face tensed with pain. I began to cry. Tears streamed down the sides of my face and ventured through my hairs, pooling in my ears. Never had I felt so trapped. There was no turning back. I could here myself screaming inside “this is unfair” and “I can’t believe I’m doing this!” over and over and over again. I knew right then and there this really was not what I wanted at all. Ulmer Ian Peirce! I hate myself for loving you. This was now solely your decision, not mine and yet who has to pay the consequences? Me, asshole.
Rods were inserted, cone shaped things, opening me up in preparation for the long plastic tube that was inserted next. I lifted my head a little in curiosity and was told to “sit back honey” by the nurse, who still sat at my side. The tube went farther inside me than any foreign object ever had before. I heard the suctioning begin. Like a vacuum it did it’s job, sucking out all that resided in my uterus like you suck out all the dirt that lies within your carpet, scrambling it up just to be thrown away.
This part of the procedure took the longest. It felt endless, yet it took just a few minutes. Still, the seemingly eternal event was pure torture. I cried harder than before, and the nurse extended her hand and this time placed it on my arm. If there had ever been a time I wished murder upon myself, it was here and now. I wished to be murdered in the most vulgar, brutal way possible. I am after all now a murderer. What gave me the right to live and strip this life, a life that I created, of the same right? Nothing, that’s what.
It was over. I was helped down off the table. The doctor had left the room, and the nurse stayed and quickly embraced me as I continued to cry. She gripped my shoulders and brought me away from her to look into my eyes. “Everything is fine. You did the right thing” she told me. Fuck you. It’s all I could think but could not say.
After I had collected myself and calmed down, they gave me permission to drive home. I walked out through the waiting room and avoided making eye contact as I opened the door, exited the office and entered the hallway. I could see down to the end, the glass door with the PUSH handle was right there. I walked up to it and pushed it open and found myself out on the sidewalk. The world had never looked this vile, and never felt this forbidding in all my life.