I had a surgical abortion today. I felt sort of whimsical when I arrived at the Planned Parenthood in Tacoma, which is not at all a feeling I could have expected. I was ushered into the building by two women holding matching candy-striped beach umbrellas to shield them from the sun. Holly, my best buddy from 7th grade, dropped me off at the front door to avoid the morons holding signs with presumably mangled fetuses engulfed in flames. The lady holding the umbrella put it over my head as I got out of the car and I felt like a celebrity trying to sneak into a nightclub undetected.
When I entered the lobby I was surprised by the amount of people, men and women, teenagers and moms, couples. I was the only lone-wolf. This could have easily made me feel lonely and unloved, but I felt brave and steely instead. I put on my headphones and wondered if I should listen to something sad to fit the moment, like Bon Iver or Elliott Smith, but the moment didn’t fit. I blasted The Strokes. They gave me Xanax and Vicodin which honestly didn’t do shit, and I waited for them to call my name.
Finally, it was my “turn” and I was scared. Not of my decision, but of the embarrassment of spreading my legs open as far as I could in someone’s face. Also of experiencing real pain. The procedure itself only took about 10 minutes total but I have to admit, it hurt. It really hurt. It wasn’t stabbing or piercing pain, but it was just so deep and invasive feeling, like someone had a garden shovel in the deepest place in your body you never knew existed, and they were scraping something out that belonged. But it didn’t belong. It had to go. The feeling made my legs tremble uncontrollably and I felt like yelling at them to STOP, to just KNOCK IT OFF, to let me go. I started to cry, and suddenly, it was over. Before I knew it, I was back in my best buddies car. Again, it returned—this strange feeling of whimsy, bordering giddiness. I was myself again. I was funny Heather, free & young-spirited Heather; not pregnant with aching boobs and full of secrets Heather. I ate more of the pills they gave me, which worked this time. I was riding a very subtle, slow wave to release and relief.
Holly brought me a “survival kit” of pads, magazines, lotion, a water bottle, a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and really funny, enormous underwear. She accidentally got XXL. They go up to my rib cage but somehow they’re perfect. I feel no pain at the moment and feel so relieved that this whole secret ordeal is over and I no longer have any reason to ever talk to the asshole who didn’t have the decency to even be my escort today. I am so glad he didn’t come. Somehow it would have caused me to miss the beach umbrellas, the little moments between the people I quietly observed, the giggly conversations I overheard by the teenagers about wanting fake IDs just so they could vote. Thank you magic world, magic life—for best buddies, for giant underwear, for cheetos, for tiny details. For getting to start over because I wanted to. For the sparkling sense of newness floating around me now.