“Melissa are you listening? It’s procedure that we have an answer to this question.” Her hair was tight, she looked exhausted in her wrinkled scrubs. Crocks, she was wearing crocks. Nurses choice for comfort. Nurses need as much comfort as possible I thought, they have hard jobs.
I had completely zoned out. I snapped back to the question and shook my head yes.
She began writing in her notes. “Very well, that is what we needed. You’re strong sweetie, strongest sixteen-year-old I’ve seen. I understand you don’t have your parents consent. Do you have a signature from the judge?”
I looked at my oldest sister Ann. She took it out of her purse. She was always the most responsible out of all of us girls.
“Alright, the procedure you have chosen is dilation and extraction due to you being around 26 weeks….”
I faded out again. I figured my sisters would nudge me if there was anything important I needed to answer.
Four weeks ago I was told in Texas that I was too far along to have an abortion.
“Honey, we do not facilitate abortions past twenty weeks in this state.”
“Fuck,” I bit my lip hard and tasted blood, “Wait, in THIS state? What’s the closest state that will?”
The lovely Little Rock, Arkansas. I’m being sarcastic. Abortions past twenty weeks were legal there I just had to plead my case to a judge.
I called Ann once, twice, she finally picked up the third time.
“This better be good Mel. I am in the middle of a shift and—“
“I’m pregnant. I need to get an abortion and I am too far along to get one in Texas. Arkansas is the closest place.”
Not skipping a beat, she sighed, “Alright, I’ll pull out a credit card. We can put everything on there and you can make payments to me. Sound good? I have to get back to work I’m drowning in patients.”
All three of my sisters stopped whatever they were doing that week and picked me up from the small town I was living in and drove me to Arkansas.
“She doesn’t even look pregnant.” Ann, driving, turned around to look at my stomach.
“Ann watch the fucking road!” Lynn had a fear of car accidents since she was a kid. Fear of a lot of things actually.
“Yea but look at her tits! Mine are still bigger.” Marie grabbed her own while visually comparing them to mine.
Ann looked at her in disgust. “Marie why does everything have to be a competition to you? Your pregnant sister? Jesus, we all know you have the biggest tits and the best body. Everyone agree? Yes? Let’s move on.”
Marie smiled and winked back at me from the front seat.
Ann and Marie were the oldest and closest in age and completely different in every way imaginable. Ann followed the straight path and Marie liked to fuck the straight out of anything she could find. They are both stubborn, actually all four of us are really stubborn, so there’s that.
Ann looked at me through the review mirror. “Seriously though, how did you not know that you were pregnant? Did you feel sick? I mean you don’t look pregnant but you definitely look like you’ve gained some weight.”
“Mainly in her tits!” Marie started to laugh and slapped my other sister Lynn on the knees.
Lynn rolled her eyes, “Will you bitches just shut the fuck up before I jump out of this moving car. She didn’t know she was pregnant alright? Leave her alone!”
My sister Lynn was always trying to protect me. I once watched her take a beer bottle to a guy’s head for grabbing my ass at a party. She is also just naturally emotional and feisty. We shared a room most of our childhood. I usually don’t allow her to do so much talking for me but I didn’t mind this time. I was exhausted.
We went straight to the clinic when we arrived. There was a group of religious protesters standing outside of the facility screaming. Disgusting photos, bibles, megaphones, you name it these fucking scum bags had it. I felt nauseous and threw up a little in my mouth. My sisters grabbed my arms, rushing me past the group. I swallowed the vomit.
One women, ex meth addict, face covered in scabs and black teeth seething at my existence got in my face, “God will forgive a slut little girl, but he won’t forgive a murderer!” I didn’t break eye contact. She was spitting all over my face, I didn’t wipe it.
Lynn pushed the woman out of my face. “Bitch, I will kill you if you get close to my sister again, I promise you that!”
The woman began laughing hysterically and Lynn began walking towards the woman. Marie hooked Lynn’s arm and yanked her back towards us.
Ann shoved Lynn towards the clinic, “Lynn chill out. The last thing we need right now is you fighting with some useless drug addict. Let’s go.”
“Ugh fucking crack head,” Marie patted Lynn on the back and they smiled at each other. Ann smacked both of their arms.
The door was metal with bullet holes all over it. It was locked which made sense considering the bullet holes.
Ann pressed the doorbell.
“Do you have an appointment?”
Ann got close to the speaker, “Yes, for our sister Mel.”
“Ok, I will buzz you in. Keep your hands in the air as you walk in and the security guard will search you.”
Lynn lifted her pant leg and showed us her knife, “What? I always carry this bad boy.”
Ann looked annoyed, “Go put it in the car you idiot.”
I looked back at the protester woman while she paced back and forth on the street yelling something I didn’t feel like understanding. The door opened abruptly and the guard shuffled us in quickly. He searched our waste belts but not our legs. Lynn smiled.
It was a two-day long procedure. After the first appointment we headed to the court house to see the judge. She was a strong southern woman with a stern disposition. She sat at a large wooden desk that towered over my tiny seat.
She gave me a quick scan and sighed, “Why are you here?”
Lynn in a sassy tone answered for me, “She needs an abortion and she doesn’t have permission from our mom and we don’t talk to our dad.”
She put her hand up at Lynn, leaned in and looked at me closer, “Have you thought this through young lady? I mean as much as a girl your age possibly could?”
I could feel Lynn’s rage, she has always hated authority, she uncomfortably shifted her shoulders. Ann gave her a strong nudge.
I nodded at the judge.
She looked confused, “Why didn’t you just get this done in Texas?”
Ann, respectfully butted in, “Ma’am she is too far along to have it in Texas.”
The judge looked my sisters up and down irritated, “Can you ladies step outside for a moment. I want to talk to her alone.”
My sisters distrustfully shuffled out of the room and closed the door.
She leaned back in, “What’s really going on? How did you not know you were over twenty weeks pregnant? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
I took a deep breath, “I have been in bed for months. My boyfriend doesn’t let me leave the house. That is why I didn’t realize I was pregnant, I thought I was getting fat. When I try to leave he threatens to kill himself and he has tried a few times. He’s abusive, he’s a sex addict, he’s a piece of shit and I can’t be connected to him for the rest of my life. I was also taking a lot of pills so who even knows if the baby is healthy. Honestly, It’s this or I jump off a fucking cliff.”
She signed the paper, I got up and walked out.
My sisters jumped up from their seats as I walked past.
Marie grabbed my arm, “Did she sign?”
I handed Ann the paper. They all let out a gasp of relief.
As we walked up to the clinic the next day, the same protester stood in front of the door screaming, “God will punish you for the rest of your life. God will hate you and you will pay for your sins. God does not forgive murders!”
Ann under her breathe coached everyone, “Just keep walking, she is mentally unstable, Lynn don’t do anything stupid. Marie just slide past her and press the button.”
Lynn put her head down and squeezed the shit out of my hand. It was taking everything in her to not beat the shit out of this woman. Marie stepped in front and casually bumped the woman out of the way of the door bell, “Outta my way cunt.” When the door opened the guard looked annoyed, “Kaylee you know you are not supposed to be on this side of the street. Get back over there before I call back up.”
She backed up a bit, tripping over the curb, “Tommy, YOU know you are not spose to be protectin these satan lovers! Gramma taught you better!”
He slammed the door. Of course they are related, I thought.
The rest of the details after I don’t feel to be too important. The drugs helped a ton. When I awoke from surgery Lynn was asleep next to me and Marie was reading me passages from a conspiracy theory book about the reptilian race.
Ann interrupted, “Marie, give it a rest. She doesn’t need to wake up to that bull shit.”
“Bullshit? You want to know what’s some bullshit? The fact that we had to drive this far for our sister to get a fucking abortion because some world order reptiles want to be able to control us like sheep.” She put the book on my lap and walked out of the room.
Ann sat down next to me, “They gave me instructions for your recovery. I already paid. They said you are free to go when you are ready and they waived the counseling. They didn’t think it was necessary.”
We heard screaming coming from the lobby. Lynn jumped up. Marie came running back in, “That fucking meth head got in and she has a gun.”
I slowly got up from my bed and began walking toward the lobby. As they tried to stop me, the woman met us in the hallway, gun pointed at my head. Her hands were shaking. My sisters stopped and all of the screaming went silent as I continued walking towards her until my head was touching the barrel.
“Do it you fucking pussy.” I stared into her pathetic, confused eyes. She looked away.
Time sped back up and Lynn tackled me out of the way to the ground. The woman lowered and dropped the gun to the ground. Lynn and Marie helped me up. I looked at Ann looking at the gun on the ground. Ann picked up the gun and emptied the bullets.
The clinic including the guard, all watching at that moment, sighed in relief. I didn’t because I had never seen this look in Ann’s eyes and I knew she wasn’t done. Fuck. Sweet, smart, well put together Ann turned the gun around and cracked the woman on the nose with the handle once, twice and the third time the woman hit the ground. Ann jumped on top of her and continued hitting her with the base of the gun as blood sprayed out of her face and onto Ann’s. She stopped for a minute and looked up at Lynn. Lynn smiled, bent over and tossed Ann the knife from her pant leg. Ann pressed it to the woman’s neck, “Where’s your god now?” The woman gasped for air, spitting and drooling blood and broken teeth.
Everyone in shock, watched and waited. Marie touched Ann’s back, Ann jumped.
“Ann, no. That’s enough fun for today.”
Ann looked at me and I nodded. She tossed the knife back at Lynn and wiped the blood from her face with her sleeve, “This bitch better not have any bloodborne pathogens.”
No one said a word as we walked out of the clinic and to the car. Lynn, pleased, skipped past Ann and jumped in the driver seat, “I think I’ll drive psycho.”
We sat in the car for a second until we all collectively broke the silence. It was the first time I’d laughed in months.