From First Drafts

Please do visit the collaborative writing blog I am part of. But in the meanwhile, this is one of the stories I contributed in response to the prompt “changed mind.”
Feedback is welcome.

Changed Mind

Her severely distended belly precedes her into the office, where she sets down her bag imperiously. She rings the bell to summon the receptionist who is a very distant three feet away from her.
“”Yoooo hooo,”” she calls out waving a manicured hand.

He enters meekly, sits in a chair in the corner, and proceeds to make himself invisible.

“”Can I help you ma’’am?”” the young receptionist asks, smiling to disguise the hint of an edge in her voice.

“”Yes. Well. I’ve changed my mind,”” says the woman with a dismissive gesture.

“”Beg your pardon?”” perplexed, the receptionist looks at the woman, trying to understand her meaning. She changed her mind about wanting service? About the color of her manicured nails? About?

“”You heard me! I’’ve changed my mind,”” she repeated drumming red lacquered fingernails on the countertop and dropping her eyes meaningfully to her huge abdomen.

The receptionist’’s jaw dropped and mouth gaping open she manages to collect herself long enough to say “”just a sec”” before running out to get Dottie, the matronly head nurse who could handle anything.

Meanwhile, the lady shifted her considerable bulk onto her other hip and sighed irritably.
Dottie appeared behind the counter, the receptionist in the background plainly listening; not even bothering to pretend not to be eavesdropping.

“”How can I help you dear?”” Dottie asked amiably, her shiny gray hair tucked into a graceful braid.

“”I already told her,”” she waves a ringed finger imperiously in the direction of the receptionist. “”I’’ve changed my mind.””

Dottie laughed heartily. “”Yes, I’’m sure dear,”” she said, still chuckling.

“”No, really. I don’’t see what’’s so funny. I want to see Dr. Cabrera. Right now!”” She goes so far as to stomp one high-heeled foot on the ground.

“”Okay dear, just a sec,”” Dottie chuckles and shakes her head as her silent-soled white shoes carry her back to the Doctor.

The woman sighs. Her face shows the strain of the last 8.5 months. Despite her carefully applied makeup she looks tired, strained. Her ankles and feet are swelling out of her fashionable heels, her waist has disappeared and her roots are showing.

Dottie returns to open the door for the woman.
“”Come on back. Dr. Cabrera will see you now. Let me just check your vitals first.”” Dottie leads her back at a slow pace suited for waddling.

“”Can’’t we just skip all that? I’’ve changed my mind and that’’s all there is to it!””
“”I’’m afraid not dear. Let’’s see how much you are weighing now.”” Dottie points at the digital scale and the woman stands on it with an air of resignation.
“”189, okay. Let’’s check your blood pressure.””
Dottie leads her into the examining room where she fastens the cuff on her arm and pumps.
“”120 over 90. A little high, we’ll mention that to the doctor. And your temperature.”” Dottie keeps up a stream of comforting chatter while she notes everything on the woman’’s chart and gets her ready for the Doctor.

The woman sighs as she examines her feet, dangling from the examination table. She thinks about all the times she’’s been in this same room, all the many bodies she has dragged in here: her slim self torn between fear and trepidation on the table. Her growing bulk. Her questions about bladders and heartburn and vomit. She thinks about all the dreams she has dreamt on the examination table while staring at the silly stickers on the ceiling invoking nurseries everywhere.

Dr. Cabrera enters, her long dark ponytail swaying as she turns to close the door behind her. She smiles kindly at the woman on the examining table.
“”So, what’’s going on? What can I do for you today?””

“”I changed my mind Dr. Cabrera.””

“”I’’m not sure I understand what you mean.”” the Doctor crosses her legs and looks patiently at the woman in distress.

“”I can’’t do this. I’’ve changed my mind. I don’’t want to do this!”” Her voice is rising in pitch and volume as she talks. Her eyes are starting to look suspiciously shiny.

“”What can’t you do?””

“”This. This whole thing,”” she pokes her belly angrily. “”I can’’t paint the nursery yellow and I can’’t pick out toys that won’’t be choking hazards, and I can’’t stay in a boring marriage for its sake and I can’’t give up my life and I can’’t wipe butts and I just can’’t. I can’’t give a shit everytime it smiles or gets a new tooth or goes down the slide. I can’’t! I changed my mind! I don’’t know what the hell I was thinking!”” She is starting to cry now. She wrings her hands and talks on as mascara dark tears stream down her cheeks. “”Just undo it. It’’s my body. I changed my mind. Take it out. Take it. I can’’t!””

Dr. Cabrera hands her the box of Kleenex and rubs her shoulder. ““You’’re doing a great job already and you’’re almost done.””

””No! I don’’t want it!””

Two days later you were born.

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