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The Procedure

A couple in the waiting room

By Laura LannPublished 4 months ago 4 min read
The Procedure
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

She sits in a stiff chair with plastic upholstery and wooden legs. Identical chairs line the walls of the room with an occasional side table between them. Tissue boxes are carefully placed on each table. Fluorescent lights cast the room in an earie wash. A muted TV plays in the corner, cycling through an old TV show with bold subtitles at the bottom. A clipboard of paperwork stares up at her from her lap. Her name stands out boldly to her: Sandra Hopprey. Politely, the nurse comes by to collect it and offers her a sympathetic smile.

Her brown hair is slicked back in a neat ponytail. Her thin frame is draped in a loose t-shirt and comfortable pants. A man sits beside her, similar in age. His eyes are soft and his hair the warm color of honey. He reaches over and squeezes her hand. This makes her brow furrow and she bites her lip as their eyes lock. Her other hand rests across her lower stomach, cradling it. He pats her hand and kisses her forehead with the gentlest of grazes.

There are other women in the room, of all ages, perched in the stiff plasticky chairs. A really young girl fidgets where she is, thrumming out keys on a laptop while she waits. She's clad in business attire and keeps glancing down at her watch before typing out the next email. An older woman reads a magazine. She sports a fetching purple leisure suit and her silver hair is cut into an perfectly square bob. She seems unworried.

One woman clutches a box of Kleenex in her lap and cries silently. A pile of used tissues is slowly growing in the trash bin near her feet. A blonde decked out in workout gear slumps in her chair, nodding her head along to the music drifting through hear earbuds. An older teen stares up at the TV and smiles at an on-screen joke even without the compulsory laugh track. No one looks at each or shares idle chatter. They are all alone.

Someone is called back, but it's not the couple. The clock still has an hour to go before their appointment. Since the drive was out of town, they arrived early just in case. They will not have an opportunity to reschedule. It must happen today or it must not happen at all. The man reaches out again and holds her hand loosely. He traces circles on the back of it with his thumb. She sighs heavily and looks up and behind to the only window in the room. The pecan trees sway outside in the wind and their shadows dance across the parking lot.

An escaped ray of sunshine catches the stone on her ring and throws tiny rainbows across her lap. Despite herself, she smiles. Slightly, she moves the hand to make them dance, however she keeps it pressed to her stomach. The man notices both the rainbows and her hesitancy. He leaned toward her and lays his head against hers. One of his large arms circles protectively around her back, the other her stomach.

One of the patients called back emerges now, pushing open the door. She stops at the counter to schedule her return for the following day. Her face is smooth of the worry lines she had been sporting before. She takes a folder with her paperwork and departs from the upstairs clinic. Others follow as the hour dwindles down. Their expressions are a mixed array, but most seemed relieved to have it over.

At last now, Sandra's name is called. The man rises with her, his eyes round with concern and love. He cannot go back with her. Pain furrows his brows as he squeezes her hand one last time. She offers him a brave smile and goes to follow the nurse. Her shoes squeak against the clean floor. Her hands fall away from her abdomen and tighten to fists at her side. With a deep steadying breath, she passes through the door and into the next step.


Thank you for taking the time to read this work. I hope what the procedure was came through with my words. However, I will use this section to blurb about it. Many women and members of the trans community will find themselves faced with an unplanned, unwanted, unsafe, or unsustainable pregnancy. Now with heavy regulation on abortions, it can be difficult and near impossible for these women to get the support they need. And, should they find that support, usually travel is required. And, after this great travel, a lot of times they must face the procedure alone. For some it's scary. For some it's tragic. And others are at peace. There's no wrong response, but it's my hope that one day the process does not have to be as daunting or difficult. Or lonely.

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About the Creator

Laura Lann

I am an author from deep East Texas with a passion for horror and fantasy, often heavily mixed together. In my spare time, when I am not writing, I draw and paint landscape and fantasy pieces. I now reside in Alaska where adventures await.

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Comments (1)

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran4 months ago

    I'm so happy you wrote this story for the challenge! Some abortions should be allowed especially for the circumstances that you've mention.

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