When Dark Closes In
She was apprehensive as she entered the clinic. The stenciled sign on the door read: Andrew Crowley, MD; Gynecology, Family planning and Reproductive services.
“Hello. I’m Jennifer McAlister. I have an appointment to see Dr. Crowley?”
“Just a moment while I check the appointment calendar. Oh, yes, you called earlier with some questions…I have some papers here for you to read and review. It will answer any questions you might have. May I ask who referred you to our office?” She said.
“A friend. Dana Martinelli.” Jennifer answered, accepting the handouts. “I was told there would not be a lot of paperwork.”
“We respect your issues with privacy. All information is kept confidential, and all are kept secure. But, we need pertinent information like place of employment, home address, a phone number, and an emergency contact number of a friend, or someone we can call, if needed. And, your signature on these forms agreeing to the terms of financial obligation and assuring payment before the procedure…” She said curtly, as if tired of explaining, and repeating all of it too many times.
“Well, Ok.” Jennifer took a seat and began working through the paperwork when she noticed the girl sitting near, bent over, with her arms covered protectively over her abdomen.
Jennifer leaned forward and asked quietly, “Are you alright? I couldn’t help but notice you don’t look so well and…would you like me to ask if a nurse could come out to help you?”
“They know I’m here. I don’t have an appointment. I called them and told them what was going on. They said the doctor was booked, but I could come in. I got this fever and pain…”
“I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do? Get you some water, maybe?”
“No. But, thank you. I took the pills he gave me, but they haven’t helped.”
“The ones the doctor gave me, after he…killed…took my baby from me.” Tears fell from her flushed cheeks.
Her answer startled Jennifer as if suddenly jolted awake from a bad dream.
“Are you married?”
“How does your boyfriend feel about your…?”
“He told me to get rid of it. Said it would just get in the way, and didn’t want no ‘screaming little brat’ to raise.”
“Miss McAlister, the doctor will see you now. I will direct you back to his office.”
Jennifer was sure the receptionist had heard them talking, maybe hearing every word by the way she kept glancing back at them. Jennifer had tried to keep her voice down.
“What is your name?” Jennifer asked.
“That is a pretty name.”
Jennifer stood up, afraid to just walk away from the girl, but, more afraid for herself for the kind of cold-hearted thing she was about to do to her own baby. She didn’t want to become like one who worked in this place.
She turned to the receptionist and said. “Rebecca needs some attention. She isn’t well. Could you help her?”
“We will. But, I was asked to show you into the doctor’s office for your ‘consultation.’
“I am not going anywhere until a nurse or someone comes out to help her.” Jennifer replied.
“Miss McAlister, we try to stay on schedule. The doctor is busy and doesn’t have time to stop to examine everyone who walks in without an appointment.”
Jennifer looked at Rebecca, bent over and then noticed the blood spots on the floor near her seat, and pointed to them for emphasis. “I think there is reason enough why you need to see her now, or I am going to go call an ambulance for her so she can be taken to the nearest hospital to be checked. I don’t think you will want the publicity when they begin asking questions. And as for me, I don’t think you will be needing these, and I won’t be needing the ‘procedure.'”
She took the papers and ripped them up, leaving the wad on the receptionist’s desk. Except for a small piece she ripped off to hurriedly write down her name and phone number, for Rebecca.
“Miss McAlister, are you certain about this?”
“Yes, more certain than I have ever been about anything.”
She turned back to Rebecca, gave her a pat on the shoulder, and said. “Please take care of yourself. And dump the boyfriend. You don’t need him. He didn’t want your baby, and it sounds like he doesn’t love you. He doesn’t deserve you.” Jennifer handed Rebecca the corner piece of paper with her contact information. “Please call me later, and let me know how you are doing?”
A nurse hurried out to the waiting room, after being summoned. She put a supportive arm under Rebecca’s to lead her back into an examining room. “We’ll check you over, and see if we can get you to feeling a little better.”
Except for maybe, Rebecca, Jennifer left the clinic, hoping never to see those people again. On her way out, she placed her right hand over her belly, as if shielding the tiny person inside.
I don’t know what is going to happen, but we will go through it together, even if it is just you and I alone in this.
To be continued
Joyce E. Johnson