The waiting room was even more depressing than I had imagined it would be, and smelled faintly of stale cigarettes.
It was a far cry from the sterile waiting rooms on the Upper West Side.
But I couldn’t go there for this. I was already probably a laughing stock for having gotten four STD tests in four weeks. Now I wanted birth control, and I wasn’t even having sex.
I suppose some girls do that. Could I lie and say I had some bad cramping or whatever?
Could I lie and say I had sex all the time?
I wasn’t sure. But I was confident that no one here would know me. That’s about as far as I’d gotten with anything positive in this situation.
It felt a little useless to fill out the questionnaire. I guess they wanted to make it easy for the homeless to get health care; the address blank was optional.
I shouldn’t say such horrible things. I don’t mean to be down on the homeless. At all.
I fidgeted with my jacket and accidentally pulled the hood strings so tight I was choking myself. I coughed and looked around to see if anyone noticed my idiocy.
Clearly my priorities were out of order. Everyone else here looked like they really needed some help, and here I was: practically sexless and begging for birth control and worrying that some strangers would think me strange for being stupid.
I grabbed a Newsweek from two years ago and buried my head in a story about typhoons and tsunamis.
After an inordinately long wait, I was ushered into a room a little bigger than my hall closet. But before I could get claustrophobic, I spied a full, unopened box of latex gloves on the counter.
Fuck, this is inconvenient, I thought.
A nurse came in and checked my blood pressure and handed me a stack of papers and told me to undress.
What was this paper for? I thought.
She must have sensed my question, because she said, “You put these on once you’re undressed.”
“Naked?” I asked, my voice a bit higher than normal.
“Yes, completely undressed, including underwear,” she said, while writing on my chart. I wondered if she was just scribbling gibberish, so she didn’t have to make eye contact while she gave me the stock answer.
I wasn’t really upset about it, just a little demoralized.
I knew basically what an exam like this entailed. My mother had encouraged me to have one when I was sixteen, and the physician was incredibly kind and did nothing untoward…except he put latex-covered fingers up my cooch and I came all over him, while crying. I don’t think he told my mother, because I’m pretty sure he was afraid of being charged with statutory rape and probably sued, too. He had begged me not to say anything.
And I wish that was the only embarrassing latex-related event of my life, but I would be lying if I said that.
When I was in fourth grade, I had a bladder infection and had to be examined by our family physician. It wasn’t a particularly intrusive exam, but the feel of the slick latex on any part of my anatomy felt really nice. So nice, in fact, that from that day forward, when I saw latex, I thought of that experience and had to change my panties.
I always carried an extra pair when I went to the dentist, and tried to focus on the sounds of the drill to calm my libido.
Finally, I was naked. I dried my pussy as best I could, and tried to think of things that wouldn’t make me wet: the smell of the waiting room, giving birth, having to give a public speech, that time I walked in on Alice fucking Jasper in the ass.
Ouch, I thought.
I looked around the room and focused on the picture of the human gestational cycle. I put my hand on my stomach and imagined it growing with life.
Hm. Growing with a life that would suck my blood and nutrients, before it ripped my body apart to be born.
Ugh, who would do that once, let alone twenty times? I thought. Clearly only a crazy person.
I was ripped from my disturbing thoughts by a pair of sweet brown eyes and a head of chestnut hair. Her smile was kind, but a little lopsided. She seemed to think something was funny.
I looked down at my get up. Did I put it on wrong?
She introduced herself and tried to make small talk to make me feel better, I guess.
Only small talk doesn’t make me feel better.
She was undoubtedly uncomfortable, too. But I had no idea how to help her out, when I was so clearly clueless myself.
Then, I fucked things up by questioning her credentials.
There wasn’t enough paper on the planet to cover up my embarrassment.
Finally, she got down to business, which unfortunately wasn’t any better, but at least we had some forward momentum. A very little, but…
“Ok, so, Bella. Do you have any specific concerns today?”
“Concerns?” I asked. What the fuck was she talking about? I just wanted some pills, was there something to concerned about?
“Or are you here for a general checkup?” she offered.
“Oh!…Uh,” here’s where I say, I’m here for birth control, please. OK, “I need something…” suddenly I was mortified. I swallowed the words but eked out a barely audible, “birth control.”
The PA nodded with understanding.
Of course she did. This is her fucking job, you stupid cow!
I cleared my throat and hoped she didn’t think my eye roll had anything to do with her. Then I shifted uncomfortably, rustling like a paper bag.
“OK, then, I will just need to take a history and physical, and then we can discuss what form of birth control would work best for you.”
Fuck me! “History!” I said. This could take a while. The paper shifted on it’s own and a boob popped out, so I clung to the covering and thought about pulling the part over my legs up to cover my face.
“Sorry about the paper gown, really.”
I realized that I was now choking myself with the paper as I pulled it tight around my neck. Perhaps I had an unconscious death wish.
The gown ripped a little, what with all the pulling, and my right boob popped out.
“I’m sorry about the stupid paper gown. Would you like a new one?”
I looked down at the ripped paper, and tried to cover my breast with zero success.
“OK,” I said, pulling the bottom piece up a little.
The PA handed me a new gown, and turned away. She offered me advice on how to put it on. I felt like an idiot. Of course!
I took that opportunity to tuck some of the paper between my thighs to soak up some of the moisture down there. I noticed a slight wet spot on the paper on the table. I scooted over it.
The PA made sure I was “decent” and turned back around.
She checked my chart, marked a few things (what I have NO idea) and looked back up at me.
“Where were we? Oh, yes, medical history.”
I needed to get my shit together. I and said, “OK.”
The PA looked at me with concern. I should use this to my advantage.
I glanced to the door behind her, wondering if it would be appropriate for me to inch my way out as I whispered inaudibly, “Can’t you just…um—”
“—Ok… Do you have any significant medical problems? Diabetes, asthma, you get the idea?”
“You know…oh,” I said, realizing that she wasn’t accusing me of anything. Shit, she was reading from a list. Only she didn’t seem embarrassed by this. Interesting.
She looked at me like I was a crazy person; the kind that you go along with so they don’t make a scene. Was I offended by that?
No, not if it hurried this shit-storm along.
“Good,” she said soothingly, smiling that patronizing doctor, or nurse, or whatever the fuck she was smile. “Do you take any medications?”
“Um…” did vitamins count? Or tea for soothing nerves? “No?” There I go with question-answers again! “NO!” I shouted. Then I felt guilty for making her jerk back, “Sorry…no.”
She nodded again, like everything was rosy, “Good. Do you smoke? Cigarettes or , um..other stuff?” I was certain that “other stuff” wasn’t written on the list.
What was she implying?
“Um. No,” I said, and then I realized that she was referring to pot.
Well, there was that one time in college with that guy…
She eyed me skeptically, as though she could read my mind.
I coughed and tried to look innocent. It was just the one time! Fuck! I looked away from her accusing stare.
I could feel her eyes on me, not believing, so I repeated myself, so I was clear: “No.”
She wrote something on my chart.
I leaned over to see what it was, but couldn’t read the chicken scratch.
“Are you certain you don’t have a history of asthma? How long have you had that cough?”
What cough? I thought, then realized my auto-non-erotic-asphyxiation must have made my normal dry throat irritated.
But I figured out from the smoking question fiasco that she wouldn’t let shit go unless I answered her plainly. I liked her no-nonsense attitude. She wasn’t pushy, but she got shit done. I could respect that.
“I don’t talk a lot,” I croaked. This was the truth, and I hoped I didn’t have to go into the strangulation details.
“Is there any water?” I added, scrunching my face in, trying to squeeze out any tiny drop of moisture I could.
“Oh, I understand,” she said, face turning red and apologetic. “Water? I have sink water but I wouldn’t drink it.”
“S’OK,” I said.
“But if you’d like some…”
I nodded and she filled a paper cup and handed it to me.
I downed the cup of sewer in one gulp, like a shot. I almost vomited, but didn’t want to make her worried that I was sick or something. Well, not that kind of sick. No, I didn’t want her to think I was any kind of sick.
“Ok, where was I? Oh, yes. Sorry. Any Alcohol or drug use?” she asked.
“Um, I drink sometimes, but…uh not, you know…a lot,” I didn’t want to come across as a lush, and although I had no issues with drinking, I didn’t drink more than twenty times in a year.
Her brow furrowed as she tried to read between some unspoken lines. I was used to that. It was the downside to keeping mum, “Social drinking? How much, how frequently?”
“Social?” I coughed to cover up a small laugh at that. Me social. I inwardly rolled my eyes, but I understood what she was getting at, so I continued, “Kind of? Like…a drink or two every time…uh you know, like on a,” shit, this was pathetic, “date?”
She didn’t miss a beat, like it was all the same to her. Bless her.
“Do you drink on all dates?”
My confidence rose with her lack of apparent judgment, “Only the ones…when…uh…I expect to…get laid.” Fuck, don’t want to sound like a slut, “but it’s been a while, so…fuck.”
And now I sound like a loser. I smacked my face with my hand.
I peered up to wide brown eyes. Was she judging me? I shook my head in shame.
Wait. Did I just say something a little too close to home for her? I decided to go with it. “Don’t you?”
“Don’t I what?” she asked.
“Never mind,” I said, not wanting to jump down this rabbit hole.
“No, it’s OK. What?”
I looked at her carefully, trying to get a read on her. “Um, drink…like…to uh, you know…I mean…that’s normal?”
I hoped she understood. I hoped I wasn’t alone. I crossed my fingers and toes for good measure.
She blushed, confirming my suspicions.
I felt like I had met my true twin, not the monstrous brick that hung from my neck called Alice.
Carefully collecting herself, she finally answered, “Oh…Well, I don’t really handle my alcohol very well, and I really don’t date all that much these days…” Then she cleared her throat.
I had embarrassed her. Fuck. I’m a dummy. I tried to fix it, “Oh, sorry.”
I meant sorry for embarrassing her, but as she took a deep breath, I realized she probably thought I meant, Oh, sorry you’re not getting laid!
I would have smacked my forehead with my hand again, but she had already moved on, and I didn’t want to draw further attention to my faux pas.
She smiled as she said, “Yeah, me too. So, are you currently dating anyone, and are you sexually active?”
I had no idea she was going to ask shit like this! Plus, Edward and I hadn’t established exactly what we were, other than in a relationship. But that could be anything. “Uh…I don’t know…” I looked around, as if my eyes could find the answer in the grotesque anatomy posters.
I heard a quiet noise and looked back to see the PA working desperately to keep from laughing.
However, she managed to ask dryly, “You don’t know if you’re dating or if you’re sexually active?”
Oh. My. Fuck. Was she making fun of me now? Wait, or…what was she asking? Was I sexually active? What did she mean by that? Did what Edward and I did last time count?
“Uh…define sexually active.”
She answered with, “Fuck.”
Well that was easy, I thought and said, “No.” I was definitely not fucking. Much as I wish I was.
Apparently, I had missed something, because she continued to clarify, “I mean are you currently engaging in any kind of sexual activity, including oral, anal or vaginal intercourse.”
I smacked my forehead before I could stop myself. I am an idiot! “Oh…um…yes?” I suddenly worried about her thinking I was a slut again, so I amended, “but it’s been pretty safe.”
She murmured, “Lucky,” under her breath.
I wanted to ask if she meant lucky that I hadn’t gotten VD or lucky that I was getting any. Considering her response to the alcohol questions, I presumed the latter. I felt better for me, but worse for her.
She continued, “Are you currently using any forms of birth control?”
“No…but…well uh, we haven’t, you know,” I moved my hand in circle, in what I thought was the universal sign for fucking.
She nodded patiently with encouragement, but not understanding.
Wait. I sighed when realized that I was giving her the universal sign for continue. So I mumbled the last bit, “Uh…sex.”
“Do you currently have one or more partners?”
Fuck…she didn’t even notice.
“One…well, um…” wait, how does this math work again? If I say one is that just me? I decided to ask: “Do I count me or?”
She giggled and said, “No, you don’t have to count you, considering you don’t need any protection there.”
“Oh,” Fucking duh. I blushed at my stupidity. “Right…just one, NOT including me.” Fuck, my throat was dry.
“And up to this point there has been no actual intercourse, and no birth control?”
I knew that latex shit was equivalent to “birth control” in medical circles, so there had been birth control. Wait. No, she didn’t mean like that. “Um with…the ONE? Recent!” I clarified, “None with Edward, no.”
There was silence.
I glanced up to check on the medical professional writing on my chart, but found a human statue instead.
I shifted on the table and the noise brought her back. She studied my chart like she was preparing for a pop quiz after.
What the fuck is up with her? I thought. I looked down to make sure I was still decently covered with paper.
“Have you had any recent STD testing?”
Have I? Hm. “Yes…Several…Three,” I lied. That sounded better than four, right? I also left out In the past four weeks.
I guess three was a lot for any period of time. She raised her eyebrows as she said, “Oh, OK then I guess we won’t have to do that today. Was everything negative?”
Shit, now she wasn’t going to do the test? That was not a Good. I had to explain this somehow, “Yes, but…um…Can we…can you?”
I blushed at my inability to just fucking tell her what I needed.
She gnawed on her lip and looked a bit uncomfortable, but like a trooper, waited patiently for me to explain further.
“I need another one,” I said. Then thinking she might think I’m just being greedy with the free clinic’s resources, I added, “I have cash.”
“Oh, that isn’t necessary! We can take care of the testing here. So, do you have any history of STD’s in the past that you’ve been treated for?”
Oh, fuck, now she thinks I have a disease?
I needed to make this crystal clear: “No.”
All the blood in my body must have been rushing to my thundering heart, because I was suddenly acutely aware of my frozen feet, she noticed and tried to make me feel better by rushing the exam along.
I put my socks on while trying to keep myself covered, which was fucking hard.
Wait. She was saying something about…”A what?”
She was going to do what to what?
I could feel the sweat trickling down the side of my face as wetness from another source coated my thighs.
She had put on a pair of latex gloves. I literally dripped on the paper as I watched pull the thin rubber across her fingers to get the fit just right.
I started trying to think of parasites and ripping skin and giving public speeches. I tapped on the table with my toe.
“A gynecologic exam? You know, down there?”
“Oh,” I said, trying to sound disinterested, “and uh…are you?…uh…gonna wear,” I coughed as my throat became drier than the Sahara, “latex gloves?”
“Yes, I have to. Why, do you have a latex allergy? I’m sorry, I should have asked you about allergies already…” she mumbled some curses under her breath.
I laughed loudly and nervously at the absurdity of her conclusion. I even snorted.
She stared at me in confusion.
“Uh…sorry.” I felt bad for her again. No doubt I’d ruined her day with my weirdness, “No, no allergy.”
I was so wet at this point, I was sticking to the paper on the table.
“Is everything OK?”
Fuck, now she thinks I’m really crazy.
I gulped, trying to get my shit together and said with as much seriousness as I could muster, “Uh-huh.”
She looked around the room for something, I had no idea what. Maybe it was to avoid looking at me. Fuck, could she tell I was wet by looking at me?
Then she said the thing that made me come undone, “I’m going to need you to lie flat on the table.”
Fuck, fuck, kittenfuck. I didn’t want to draw attention to my situation, so I complied, “OK.”
I was as stiff as a corpse, one who had died with their ankles and knees firmly pressed together.
She stared at me with concern.
What did I do now?
“I’m going to check your belly first, OK?”
Wait, she had the gloves on. What did she need them for? “With the gloves on?” My voice was so high at this point, I practically squealed the question.
Great, now she was going to think I was crazy again.
“Yes, of course,” she said.
“OK,” then I cleared my throat and prepared for the feel of rubber on my bare skin. I closed my eyes tightly and tried not to think about it.
“Um…do you have a problem with latex? Like a phobia or something? I can see if we have latex-free gloves…”
“No!” Fuck. “I mean…” Shit that would be a solution, but as I thought of the non-latex gloves, well, it was less important what they were made of. They felt the same, had the same slidey-grippy feeling. The smell was different, but that isn’t where my kink lies. It’s in the illicitness of needing to be protected from something. I shuddered a tiny bit and continued, “It’s…um…it’s OK. I’m OK. Thanks.”
Then, I straightened my knees and crossed my ankles, hoping I didn’t make a squishing sound as my thighs rubbed together. I tried to make myself look calm, but I don’t think it worked because she said, “I’m sorry Bella, but I’m going to need you to relax your abdomen a bit. Can you take a few deep breaths?”
I followed her command, but it sounded a lot like hyperventilating to me. I nodded, hoping she would continue. I wanted to get this shit over with.
I shivered a bit as she touched my abdomen with her hands.
Then, she pulled out two metal bars. I jerked as I heard the hard metal against metal creak and soft clunk as it fell.
“OK, I’m going to need you to bring your feet into these stirrups now, Bella. Are you ready?”
“Um. Can you relax your legs and let them fall open? I’m going to need to, you know, examine you, and take a pap smear.”
Fuuhuuhuuck! I wanted to cry like a bitty-baby.
Instead, I remained outwardly calm, “Um…I’m…uh…see…I’m embarrassed.”
There. I said it. As if she needed physical proof of my embarrassment, I covered my face with my hands.
“I know.” She knew? Fuck! “and I’m sorry. Would it make you feel any better to know I’m worse than this when I have to go? Don’t worry, OK?”
She was worse? Perhaps she didn’t understand. She hadn’t seen my sopping cunt, yet.
“No…It’s…It’s the gloves!” I groaned and babbled into my hands which hadn’t left my face.
“The gloves? What is it? You said you weren’t allergic!”
I groaned again. Was that not sufficient?
“No! I’m the opposite of allergic! They make me…you know…I mean..It’s not YOU! I like boys…but…the gloves… you know?”
I peaked out between a couple of fingers.
Her face was the color of an eggplant.
Fuck. Now I’ve done it.
“I’m so sorry. I don’t want you to think—”
“—Oh! Um…so the gloves, you know…um…OK…”
“The reason…it’s gonna be, you know…I don’t mean to be so wet!”
I groaned one more time for good measure. My toes were curling into my feet, even though they had the least to be embarrassed about. I was positive it was because they felt the most vulnerable.
“Oh! You, you know, like latex?” she asked.
“Fuck,” I whispered again, my face furiously red by now.
I could hear the PA taking a deep breath, but I couldn’t look at her.
“Oh, well then, yeah. OK. It’s OK, really. Don’t worry, it doesn’t matter. But you, um, still need to open your legs.”
I cringed when I saw her put the KY jelly back on the tray without using it.
She was very kind, disinterested, which helped, but I had to quote nineteenth century love poetry in my head to keep from thinking about what was going on between my legs.
I did blush and groan softly throughout the procedure. I couldn’t help it.
I did manage not to come. I was relieved about that.
Next thing I knew, the PA was handing me an entire box of tissues.
It wasn’t a huge box, and I was pretty sure I was wet enough to drench a hand towel, so I decided to take a chance and ask, “Do you have a towel?”
The PA started looking around the room, opening cabinets, and mumbling something about cutbacks.
I thought I could at least come out of here with something useful, so I asked, “Or, can I just have a box of those?” I pointed to the box of gloves on a shelf.
She smiled and said, “Here…take as many as you um…need…yeah.”
“OK, so you’re here to get some kind of birth control, right?”
“OH…yeah! Sorry, I forgot.”
We both laugh nervously, and she helps us get back on task. “Well, um, I know you are um, OK with condoms, right? But you want backup as well? Did you have any particular method in mind? Did you have any, um, specific concerns?”
“Well…I just want to be safe…see, sometimes…um…latex…it’s not always safe…see we had a, uh, situation with a dental dam.”
She cocked her head to the side at the mention of a dental dam. Fuck, just when I was feeling comfortable…
But I continued, “It slipped…and then I worried…”
She snorted again.
OK, I couldn’t let that one go, “It that funny?” Maybe there was a reason! “Does that happen a lot? Is it normal?”
“Yes! It’s normal, I mean…understandable in your um, situation, you know?”
“I guess. So, um, I worry that when we finally…you know? That it may break or mess up or…that’s why I need another STD test.”
“Oh…OH, yes, I understand. We can definitely take care of that for you. I mean, I can,” she cringed a little and changed the subject. “So would you like to consider the pill or a Depo-Provera shot? As backup?”
Hm, I didn’t even consider a shot. “Which is better?”
“Well, you’d have to come in for the shot every 3 months. But then you wouldn’t have to worry about remembering a pill every day. The pill would have to be taken every day, and if you miss one, you increase your risk of pregnancy. Personal preference, really.”
“Hmmm. Well…uh,” I looked up. Wouldn’t that be easier? I thought. Yes, I wouldn’t have to remember something every day. “The shot. Can I come here for the shot?”
“I should just warn you that the shot can cause weight gain in some women, but you are very thin and shouldn’t have a problem.”
I didn’t care about that, and doubted Edward would either, “OK.”
“OK, good. I can give you the shot today, and then you’ll just have to come back in 3 months. No worries,” she said, as she smiled at me.
I sighed with relief before it hit me. Wait, I was going to have to come in every three months and deal with gloves and different people each time? Fuck, this was getting complicated.
Maybe…”So…don’t take this the wrong way, but…can you do the shot next time?” This way, I wouldn’t have to worry about being outted about the gloves.
She bit her lip, “No, I’m sorry, but I won’t be here anymore by then. I graduate in two months, and will probably be back home by then. But I’m sure you can request a female practitioner when you come back. Is that OK?”
I inwardly rolled my eyes. Fuck my life. “Oh, OK. Yeah, that’s fine.”
She smiled at me again and said, “It was a pleasure to meet you.”
She looked in a cabinet and pulled out another box of gloves, “Here’s another box of gloves, in case you, um need them.”
“Oh…OK. Thanks!” I said, trying to smile for her, even though I wanted to die.
many thanks to kikki7 for collaborating with me on this outtake