The walk over to the clinic takes about fifteen minutes, and it’s mostly comprised of you feeling really cold again and Trixie trying to make you feel better about what had just transpired at rehearsal.
It’s much brighter outside now, and the scenery is a stark difference from what it is during the spring and summer months. There are white mounds of piled up snow and barren trees everywhere.
Several people are crowded at the various bus stops in their heavy winter gear as vapor escapes their mouths and nostrils.
Everything looks so bleak, and winter’s only just begun. You’re barely two weeks in and already the place looks like fucking Antarctica.
You sigh, resigning yourself to the reality that you’re going to have to deal with five more months of this crap.
You finally get to the clinic, and you feel your skin crawl as soon as you walk through the transparent glass doors. You fight the urge to hold your breath as you feel an expected wave of nausea rush over you. You do your utmost best not to freak out. You don’t exactly have the best memories of places like this.
You hate clinics.
And sick bays.
And any other types of health centers and facilities.
Just being in them makes you feel ill.
You and Trixie are rudely ushered into the main waiting lounge by one of the disgruntled-looking receptionists where you wait.
And wait some more.
It takes two and a half bloody hours for the nurse practitioner to see you from the time you get there. You’re really not an impatient person, and you get that waiting times can be long, especially since the clinic’s services are free to students—which is the only reason you can even come here—but come on!
You mean, seriously? It’s not even that crowded today, and they don’t start giving out flu shots for like another month. And after what you endured this morning, you don’t think you have a lot of patience for much else today.
After watching several staff members walking up and down the hallway, going through seven issues of various magazines and countless ‘safe sex’ brochures, you finally get called into one of the examination rooms.
Trixie, despite her own impatience, continues to wait for you in the waiting room, playing Angry Birds on her phone to keep herself from catapulting a projectile at someone in real life.
You’re really happy she’s here.
Despite her outward appearance, she’s one of the most caring people you know. She’s such a gem, and with your grandma three and a half hours away and not many other people you can depend on, you’re pretty sure your life would be a lot less exciting and a helluva lot more depressing had you not sat next to each other on the first day of orientation. Your friendship was practically instantaneous, and she’s been one of the few people who’s fully embraced you ever since you started school here.
You shut the door behind you, and another wave of nausea hits you as you take in the bland white walls and the sterile smell of the closed room. You feel goosebumps forming on your skin and the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention.
You feel trapped.
You hear the smacking of rubber against skin and turn to see a woman in maybe her early fifties or so putting on a pair of disposable gloves. The blue translucent latex fits a bit loosely on her slender hands.
“You can put your bag over there, hon,” she says as she points over to an equally white countertop by a barred window. The idea of leaving any of your belongings unattended here makes you feel extremely uneasy.
Maybe you should’ve just left your stuff with Trixie in the waiting room. You reluctantly place your bag and jacket where she suggests, eyeing it from time to time as you lie on the examination bed.
She brings out some equipment including a pressure meter and a thermometer, presumably to take your blood pressure and other vitals. You feel the pressure on your wrist increase as the band tightens with each squeeze she gives the pump.
Your eyes travel over to the laminated name tag clipped onto her breast pocket.
Her name is Jane…
Like your mother.
You glance at her face again, admiring the way she focuses and her level of concentration at the task at hand. She really does look like a Jane; poised and graceful with a subtle and quiet strength about her. Women like this are often overlooked, but are always missed dearly when they’re gone…
Like your mother.
You feel your chest constricting again as the threat of oncoming tears burn your eyes. Today is just not a good day. You wish you would have just slept in and said you were sick. You sure as hell feel like it now.
As Jane continues to take your vitals, she asks you a range of questions including, “Are you currently sexually active?”, “When was your last period?”, “When were you last sexually active?”, and “How many sexual partners have you ever had?”
Six years ago.
Personally, you think most of the questions are irrelevant to your situation, but you guess they’re pretty standard for college girls everywhere, especially here in a Wisconsin college town where the only thing everyone does aside from drink obscene amounts of alcohol is screw everyone who drinks obscene amounts of alcohol.
She finally gets to the actual examination, ushering you to lift your top as you lay back. The air feels warm on your exposed skin, but not even that can get rid of the chills this place gives you.
She proceeds to examine your torso, intermittently pressing her gloved hands firmly on various areas of your belly.
“Let me know if you feel any pain,” she says.
You nod, “Okay.” It barely comes out in a whisper. You’re so uncomfortable right now. The only thing that’s making this even remotely bearable for you is her soothing and endearing voice. She seems like a really sweet and patient person, and you hope your show of discomfort doesn’t make her think you’re just being a bratty tool or a whiny crybaby.
Her fingers wallow around for several seconds as you feel nothing but the rubbery texture of latex and the rapid thudding of your heart in your chest.
She presses firmly right under the center of your rib cage and your body retreats on reflex.
Okay. That’s definitely the spot.