Por Lo Meno…

The waiting room was unchanged. The walls were a blue sea green that held hand painted pictures of flowers and mounted in frames of compressed wood dust.  It was still filled with those uncomfortable chairs whose padding was made of hunter green plastic leather and had absolutely no back support. There were eight chairs in the middle of the room as well as a line of ten chairs against the far left wall opposite from the entrance.

The temperature was a cool breeze and oh so needed after walking in to escape Satan’s breath. My feet scuffed against the industrial multicolored rug as I moved towards the nurse’s window at the opposite end of the room. The sliding glass window was shut tight with a clear finger print free view of the hustling females behind its cover. The clip board held a crisp white sign in sheet; last name first, first name last.  I signed in and walked back towards the entrance and sat in a chair next to the glass windows covered by industrial size blinds and waited for my name to be called.

I watched him through the white blades that covered the secrets held behind them. He sat in the green Jeep Blazer with his three four legged children hung over from the night before.  Inside, the air was filled with the sounds of the pages of magazines being flipped through, the continuous sliding of the glass window and the nervous fidget of the patients in the chairs. Occasionally the white door to the right of the sign in sheet will open and shut reminding me that I will soon be called.

It must have been thirty minutes before I was escorted through the door by a nurse to a room directly behind the sliding window where I was asked to sit in a chair and reveal my most intimate secrets to a totally complete stranger. I obliged and the cement in my stomach hardened. The air  became cold and unwelcoming. I felt the nurses eyes gaze into my pupil and saw every prayer I have silently and continuously recited to myself over the last forty five minutes begging for forgiveness. I negotiated my punishment and tried to reason with Him as my palms began to sweat. My feet began a nervous shake as I verbally articulated my response to the nurse’s questions.

My credit card was swiped for payment of services.

Is that a cramp? Did I finally get my period? 6 weeks late?

***

                “Por lo meno you pari mi hijos!”

She snapped a look at me from the other side of her kitchen table. My mother and I always got into arguments over something that had to do with her mothering  ways.

I cocked my head in the same manner a dog does when he thinks he understands but still has to make sure he heard right.

Did she just say what I think she just fucking said?

She pranced around the kitchen with flaring nostrils reminding me of a male bull in the arena watching the matador. She was waiting for me to make a move. I did. I left.

                I never told her. It must have been Jose. He must have ran his mouth to his titi like the bitch ass negro he was.

My mother has 8 children, five baby daddies and not one ever asked her to marry him. Of those 8 children, 6 of them spent close to 5 years in foster care. Of those 5 sperm donors, three have died. One of a heart attack, one of stomach cancer and the other of a heroin overdose. There were other pregnancies. She said she “lost” them.

***

                I’ve only been with my boyfriend for less than 2 years. I can’t have his baby. We are not the right couple to parent anything together. We can’t even pay rent without throwing sharp words that cut each other from across the room.

***

                I’m checked. The ultra sound makes no noise.  I was expecting to hear the sound of the heartbeat. Nothing. The imaging machine was tilted to an angle where I couldn’t see anything. I so wanted to see something. But I got nothing.

***

She’s right. She gave birth to all of her children. But that doesn’t make her a mother. She failed me miserably. I don’t remember any hugs. I didn’t get any positive reinforcement. My youth was filled with crack pipes, and raw rice embedded in my knees and piss cooked clothes and forced church visits so she can be alone with her then boyfriend. My first days of school came and left. I never learned my letters or how to write my name. She was too busy giving birth to her children.

***

                 I took my seat. The walls were the same color as the entrance waiting room, the chairs the same, except in here the waiting space was smaller. The air was suffocating. The music from CD 101.9 drove me to drink my thoughts of running, of screaming and telling him that I can’t and will not go through this. But I just sat there. I looked around. I saw the faces with eyes that never looked back at me. Heads hung low. Bags shuffled and rattled with the mild adjustments of the hospital gowns.

I sat wondering what could we possibly say to each other? Yeah, I’m here to get an abortion cause I fucked up and didn’t use a condom. Or- Yeah I’m here cause I was raped and well this child just isn’t going to see a day of light. Perhaps we could have consoled each other by at least telling each other our name. But that would be stupid. There’s another nurse that comes through the door and calls our names to the doctor and anesthesiologist to room labeled #3. Oddly enough we’ll know the names of ones that came before us. The ones that came after, will remain nameless faces.

They were all nice. No one ever looked at you with eyes asking why are you sinning? No one ever made you feel less of a woman, less of a mom, or even less of a human. I guess they figured out that you would do a better bang up job to yourself than they could have ever imagined. And it’s true. I’ve called myself all kinds of names and caused all kinds of irreversible psychological damage in the 10 feet walk of a hallway from the small waiting room to room # 3.

I was then told to lay on the bed that looked exactly like the one at the OBGYN clinic. My legs strapped to the cold metal rod that held my foot securely in a pocket  spreading my legs for all the world to see the goods my mother gave me. My arms were strapped down with Velcro- straight out away from my sides. The anesthesiologist was to my. He was a much older white man, with a bald head but a gentle touch and smoky soothing voice.  He’s done this a million times before. I can tell. His pale blue eyes told no lies.

Within two minutes the needle was in my  vein and my eyes were sleep but my brain and my body was wide awake. I felt a thump in my lower abdomen. I felt a sharp pinch. Some suction. I felt pain. I knew I was screaming to stop. I knew I was moving my body to get out. My brain told me. But my lips weren’t moving. My limps were tied down. My tears drained its banks out of each eye into my ears. This I knew for sure. I felt them fall. I heard them cry.

***

                Por lo meno, yo pari mis hijos.

I still hear those words sometimes when I look at my son.

He could have been the oldest of 4 kids.

I could have had three baby daddies.

But that’s my mother’s life.

© 2017, Lopez. All rights reserved.

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