The Clinic

May 22, 2017

The Clinic
Her lavender t-shirt was plastered to her torso as she forced open the rusty door of her rundown red pick-up truck and stepped out into the parking lot. Her walk of shame was accompanied by the vibrant sun casting rays of heat upon the asphalt and back up at Katie. The air was thick, and it was almost hard to take it in as she struggled to breathe. A terrible day for terrible business. To the south, toward the densely populated inner city, was a large mass of dark clouds, rising over the skyline and engulfing it in darkness as it made its way towards the clinic near the edge of the city. Katie finished her trek across the lot and pulled open the glass doors to the clinic and felt no relief.
If it was hot outside, it was boiling inside. Women and teenage girls sat all around the waiting room, fanning themselves with papers and magazines, texting on their cellphones, or watching the small flat screen mounted in the corner. Katie walked nervously past them to a counter where a stout woman sat in a office chair behind a computer that looked like it was built 20 years ago. The woman tapped away reports on the loud keyboard and occasionally glanced over at a paper next to her. Katie waited timidly for a while before the woman finally turned to her with a questioning look.
“Umm…,” Katie uttered, “I need to get an-”
The woman pointed across the counter to a green basket full of clipboards and pens next to a thin stack of medical forms, “There are forms over there. Mark the nature of your visit, and fill out the corresponding form and when you turn it in, I’ll schedule you an appointment.” She gave a toothy smile.
Katie gave a nervous smile back, and thanked her before shrinking away to the forms. She grabbed a form, clipboard and pen before turning to the waiting room and sitting in between two other teenagers, both texting on their phones. A loud fan sat in the corner and circulated the hot air, not doing much to comfort any of the ladies as they waited for their appointments. Katie looked down at the form she held in her hands. She knitted her eyebrows as she checked boxes, but after a while her mind was lost in other things. She couldn’t focus and began rubbing the edge of the paper nervously. Her mind raced over hundreds of thoughts at once. They grew louder and louder, until she couldn’t hear anything, not even the world’s noisiest fan that sat in the room with her. Her eyes grew cloudy as they welled up with tears. She closed her eyes, feeling the tears run down her cheeks. She sat like that for a few moments listening to the voices in her head shout at her.
“Oh my god, are you alright?” The ringing stopped abruptly, and Katie opened her eyes, as the girl next to her spoke to her.
She looked down at her hand as the blood flowed from her thumb. She felt the sting as she smeared her form with her blood, setting it aside as she got up quickly. “Just a paper cut. Nothing to worry about. Is there a bathroom around here?” She announced in a shaky voice as people turned to look. The other girl pointed to a door on the wall behind her. Katie rushed to it and stepped inside, closing the door behind her with a sense of relief. It was good to be alone, where no one could see her release her emotions.
She went over to the sink, and washed the blood off of her hand before grabbing a paper towel and wrapping it around her thumb tightly. She looked up into the mirror and saw a mess, her makeup was running down her face mixed with her tears, her eyes were puffy, she was shaky. I can’t do this, she thought, This isn’t right. She sat in the bathroom for a few minutes, watching herself in the mirror, thinking about what she was about to do, and when she finally calmed down, she had come to a decision. She wiped away the tears and cleaned up her makeup before leaving the bathroom. When she stepped outside into the waiting room, she didn’t go back to her chair. She walked directly to the door and left the clinic. When she stepped out, she felt the raindrops fall on to her face, like tears, except she was no longer crying. She was smiling, no matter what people thought, she knew she made the right decision.

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