Thursday, April 12, 2012

Super Heroes (Better Writer's Challenge #28)

Today’s Challenge:  I want to know about the girl in the picture.  In the last line or so of the excerpt you can actually tell me where she is, but lead up to it with the rest of your writing.  For example, if it is January in Alaska, words like cold, shiversweaters, etc. could be used.  Hopefully that makes sense.

photo courtesy of Fey Ilyas
She wanted to hurl.  She was almost certain that she would need that red plastic trash can sitting by the receptionist's desk.  She didn’t to be here, but sometimes you have to do the things you never thought you would.   She slouched further into the broken down sofa and pulled the hoodie further over her face.  Again, she fervently glanced around the small seating area.  Idly she wondered if the other girl sprawled in the chair was here for the same reason she was.  “Ha” she snorted, “As if anyone comes to one of these places for the atmosphere.”

Under the shelter of the hoodie, she viewed her space with a little curiosity and pulled the flat pillow from behind her.  She noted the faded print on the wall.  Rolling her eyes, she had seen something like that at grandma’s house.  And did anyone really think those dusty tree looking things in the corner fooled anyone to believing there was any life in them.  This place had a dingy desperate feel to it.  Just like she felt.

Fidgeting, she absentmindedly rubbed her rolling tummy. For maybe the hundredth time, she wished these jeans weren’t so stinkin’ tight!   Yep, she was going to hurl.  Suddenly at her elbow, there was a slightly chubby woman with a kind smile.  Her tag read Sandy, and she held a cup of something steamy toward her.  She looked up, careful not to reveal too much of her face.

“It won’t be much longer.”  Sandy informed her.  “You look a little green, so I took the liberty to make you a cup of hot peppermint tea.  Here are a few sugar packets.  The sugar brings out the peppermint you know and peppermint is wonderful for upset tummies.”  So, the chubby lady was nice.  She accepted the tea, sat it on the beat up coffee table and added the sugar.  Stirring she looked at the girl across from her.  The other girl jerked when their eyes met, and turned away.  Yep, she is here for the same reason.  She sighed as she sat back and took a tentative sip of the tea.  Hmmm, she thought, not too bad.  She waited for the volcanic roar inside her to quiet.

Sandy stepped up and told her, “She is ready for you.  You need to step into the bathroom.  There are cups on the shelf.”  She turned and gave a quizzical look at Sandy again.  “Oh, I’m sorry dear, we need a specimen.  You will need to collect your urine in one of those cups.”  She spoke the first words since explaining why she was there.  “That’s gross.”  Chubby Lady smiled again and she found herself thinking again that Sandy was really nice.  She was kinda pretty when she smiled.

She took care of the business in the restroom and stepped into the hallway.  She was scared AND nauseous now.  She felt so naked.  Another woman, this one younger with calm brown eyes stepped out of a room to address her.  “Allison, I have you in this room.”

Allison stepped into the white and stainless steel room.  In the middle of the room was a high table.  That looked scary.  She did a quick look around and realized THIS is where all the money was spent.  There were beeping machines and computer screens sitting around. A lamp with a bright flexible neck was shining on the table.   There was a lot of scary medical looking stuff.  Allison turned to leave.  But this lady introduced herself, “Allison, I am Marcia.  I am so proud of you for coming in to see me.  You have made a brave decision.”  Allison interrupted her, “I haven’t decided anything yet.  I don’t even know for sure that I am...“  Allison gulped, “You know…ah…  Marcia placed her hand on Allison’s arm, “Allison, you ARE pregnant.  Your urine test confirmed it.”


Now it’s real.  Someone said the “P” word out loud.  Tears fell from her eyes, as Marcia handed her tissues.  Marcia spoke softly to her, “I know this is really scary right now.  And I know how afraid you are.  I was only 3 years older than you when I faced this decision.”  Allison looked at her and considered what Marcia just told her.  “My mom is going to blow a gasket,” Allison croaked.
Photo courtesy of Medcorp

Marcia picked up a clipboard and told her, “Well first things first.  Pop onto this table and we will see what we are dealing with.”  Allison was still not sure she could go through with this.  Her mind was spinning and already thinking about what her mom was going to say.  This wasn’t going to end well.

Marcia helped her onto the table and Allison leaned back.  She was instructed to pull up her hoodie just a bit and Marcia squirted a jelly onto her belly.  It was warm.  She expected it to be cold, just like every shocking reality assaulting her right now.  Marcia pushed a knobby joystick looking thing around her belly.  Allison craned her neck to watch Marcia move the joystick around.

Marcia clicked a few dials and turned the computer screen toward her.  It was dark with white shapes moving around.  “What IS that?” Allison asked.

“Allison that is your baby and she’s actually measuring about 16 weeks.  Your baby is a little girl.”  She squeezed her eyes shut and recalled 4 months ago.  Crap.  The beginning of the school year, the first football game at Hickman High.  A drunken decision is changing her life.  Marcia didn’t know how those words hammered into Allison’s heart.    

“A girl?” Allison sighed, “Is it too late to have an abortion?”  Marcia continued to move the joystick around.  “Here is her heart beating, and there are her little toes.  Look at how amazing her spine is.”  Allison’s eyes were glued to the screen as Marcia moved the joystick around her tummy.  “These are her fingers, oh look!  She just popped one in her mouth!”  Marcia was clicking the dial and a soft whirr hummed through the room.  Paper images of fingers, toes, noses and a chin rolled out of the machine.  “And these are her girl parts.  We don’t usually get to show women this, but you are further along.”

Marcia wiped off her tummy and helped Allison sit up.  “To answer your question, Allison, you can still have an abortion.  That is indeed one choice.  You are in your second trimester now, so the risk to you is greater.  There are also other options for you.”

Courtesy Maternal Source

Allison held the photos of this little girl.  Wow.  Reality bites.  Allison looked up at Marcia and asked “Do you have a picture of how big a 16 week baby is?”  Marcia smiled and told her “I can do better than that.”  She walked to the steel counter, picked something and came back to place it in Allison’s hands.  “This is a life size model of a 16 week baby.  Your baby is between 4 – 5 inches in length and weighs almost 4 ounces.” 

Allison held the rubber body in her hand, so tiny, and already so big.  She looked at the photos of those tiny fingers and toes.  The images swam in front of her.

Marcia placed gentle hands on Allison’s shoulder, “You have really big, grown up decisions to make that 15 year old girls aren’t supposed to have to make.”

Allison looked again at the photo in her hands.  “No.  The first decision is made.  Will you help me tell my mother that I’m having a baby?”

Marcia nodded, with tears gathering in her own eyes.  “I tell you what.  I’m going to step outside and I will call your mom right now to meet with her at the coffee shop next door.  You can take a moment to yourself.”

Stepping into the hall, Marcia looked up at the ceiling.  Letting her tears flow she whispered, “Thank you Father!  We saved another innocent.”

 Marcia walked to the seating area, gave Sandy the chubby receptionist a thumbs up, and flipped the sign to the Open Arms Crisis Pregnancy center to “Closed”.  It is a good day.

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