Life, most often, has a tragic way of dealing you a hand of lessons. And from those lessons, you allow the sorrows that follow to strengthen you or you allow them to swallow you whole.
I didn’t know which was worse; the stress and ignorance of not knowing at all or the complete turnabout my life can take if the news isn’t what I wish it to be.
I needed a miracle. I needed this amazing and blind faith my mother always spoke of to present itself before I lost my nerve and broke down even further than I’d already been dragged. I needed to believe that even now, having lived through hell on Earth, life hadn’t dealt me my worst hand yet.
Nearly all my wounds and bruises still visible, I took a seat and dropped my head as the eyes of those sitting near me fell upon me. Most of them, women and much older. They stared at me with such looks of disgust and contempt. The girls who appeared to be my age or younger looked at me with a bit of relief. They weren’t alone. They weren’t the only ones young and dumb.
I sat in silence, twiddling my thumbs as I waited and waited. The time dragged, and before long the bland colors of gray and white that filled the cold room began to blend together.
I felt chills run through my body, held myself tightly as I leaned downward and let my tears flow for the first time in days. I was alone; without family, without a friend, without any knowledge of who I am or who I’m even supposed to be. Empty.
The noise around me began to sound like a succession of inaudible words and phrases before they faded altogether. And then, a door creaked loudly and I heard my name. I sat perfectly still until I heard it again, and again.
“Last call; Marissa Toliver, we’re ready to see you.”
I exhaled sharply, wiping my tears as I stood and quickly made my way so that I wouldn’t take up or waste much more of the nurse’s time. She smiled warmly, placing her hand on my shoulder as she led me towards my destination.
When we reached the room, a far walk from the waiting area, she asked me to take a seat on the table and I did so, zipping my jacket up. I looked around nervously, reading signs that had had been in all doctors’ offices I’d been in for the first time in my life. The very information I’d been half taught throughout my teen years by people paid to scare kids into living safe and righteous lives. “Such a beautiful young lady. There’s no need to feel embarrassed, ashamed, upset or anything of that nature. You’re not the first young lady to step foot in a free clinic, to avoid parental judgement, and you won’t be the last. In my opinion, I find it to be highly responsible when you all come in here just to check up on and know what’s going on with your own bodies. I noticed you have two main concerns, which would you like to get out of the way first?”
I spoke, barely above a whisper. “The pregnancy test.” That news would be the easiest to take, though just as unwanted as anything else.
“Very well. Have you taken one at home already?”
“No, I haven’t. But my cycle is late and I don’t think stress is the reason why.” I sighed. “There have been moments when there was no protection used, most of them without my knowledge.”
“The times without your knowledge were very recent then?”
I nodded. “At least three of the last four times. The last time for certain.”
“Okay, and if you are pregnant, would you like to be put in contact with someone that can help you make plans. Perhaps begin figuring out if you’ll need help with housing, collecting benefits, or things of that nature.”
I shook my head. “I’ll think about that when I know for certain.”
“Very well. Let me get you taken care of, and after I leave you’ll be seen by the doctor for the remainder of your visit.”
All sound faded again as the nurse went on. I answered absentmindedly, giving her all information about myself that I could recall in the moment.
“My last question, and this is a bit of a personal concern; would you like to speak with someone about domestic violence? Though it’s evident to anyone that will look at you or see your face as you pass by, anything you say to whomever you speak to today will be strictly between you and that person. I can also put you in touch with someone that offers safe housing, if you live with the person who harms you. If you are pregnant, it will be suggested that you go somewhere safe if going to your parents is not an option.”
I shook my head. “I’ll have somewhere to go.” She nodded, making notes. “But, if you have a therapist or know one that I can speak to after all of this is over, I’d like that very much.”
“Alright then. And Marissa, between you and I; you’re worth everything, you are everything he stripped from you and more. You’re beautiful, loved, wanted, needed, and appreciated. If he took your ability to see that, I hope you find your way back to it soon.”
I nodded, thanking her as she excused herself.
“Worth everything, or forever worthless.” I hope I’m at least worth a second chance.
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