Flash Fiction by Elisheeba Ijekhuemen
I almost did not want today to come, a part of me still struggling with the decision I had already made.
Yet wishing, does not always make it so, and when I opened my eyes and my senses came to life, I could still smell the faint clean smell of the hospital floors, see the doctors in blue scrubs pacing around and the silence of the room I currently shared with no one else but my regrets matched that of the orderly waiting room.
I had left the hospital behind, but I knew its memory would always linger and so would the choice I had to complete today.
My mind was not in total agreement, but the decision was already made, I already had the mifepristone in my system; I could stop now, but the supposed risks as a result to my child worried me too much.
My child; the audacity, this wasn’t a child yet, this was a foetus, it would be a child when I let myself carry this pregnancy for nine full months.
It would be a child, born to a mother who would have no ability to care for them. I have always promised myself to never be selfish that way, this was a complication caused by my carelessness and that’s not how I wanted to bring my first child into the world.
The father no one but a name not worth recalling, nothing but a remembrance of stupidity and rushed decisions.
The shame and self-blame I felt from that thought alone had me burrowing deeper into my blankets, I was alone in my room with my thoughts but I could already feel watchful, judgemental eyes raking all over me.
I drew up all the strength I could muster, I was not only making this decision for me but for the good of.., no; I had spent too much time thinking, I just had to go through with it and put it behind me.
I felt I was more confident now, as I stepped out of bed, but my fingers still shook as I reached to grab the pill from my purse that I had not touched since the previous day.
That did not matter, I had to go through this, but my heightened emotions away, the emotions that had me in this position in the first place. I had to go through this, I mean what was the alternative?
I climbed back into bed, this was the time specified by the nurses at the clinic and stated on the box containing the final set of pills, misoprostol; exactly 24 hours.
I held on to the blanket, drawing all the support I could have from its softness and warmth, I read the instructions included in the box as carefully as I could; no more mistakes.
I placed the four pills into my mouth as directed, and then stayed completely still, afraid now that any movement and none of this would work.
I knew it wasn’t logical, I was not a fool, but at this moment logic was not a great concern of mine, my emotions spiking both from the pregnancy hormones and the weight of what I was currently going through.
A few minutes after I was sure the pills had dissolved, my mind began its usual process of overthinking; why was there no blood? Of course, I would be one of the few this just didn’t work for; I could not help the tears of fear that streamed down my face.
Fear of what it would mean if this just didn’t work; logically I know every medication needs more than a few minutes to truly work, but my entire self did not want to listen to rationality.
It did listen to that darker part of myself, that part that asked why I assumed I was so special?
The fear receded, but it still hung heavy around me until I felt the cramping pain and knew what it meant, the evidence being the blood I saw and felt dripping out of me.
The fear was no longer around me because it cycled back to shame, regret, and disappointment. I should have been smarter than this; I knew better; those were singular lines churning on and on like ringing bells in my head. The bells dulled, but the lines kept chanting on, distinctly now in the voice of my parents; all the while the blood kept dripping, increasing in intensity, seemingly pouring now.
The shame mixed with the returning flare of fear as my mind recalled hemorrhaging as a side effect of the medical abortion.
I knew this wasn’t as likely, and this amount of blood was relatively normal for the process, just like I knew a lot of my thoughts of shame and fear resulted from the thought of how disappointed and angry my family would be and simply knowing I had broken important rules of the religion I had long dedicated myself too, a religion my parents had raised me in.
Yet, I couldn’t help but feel that somehow this was my punishment, I was going to bleed out right there on my bed.
Even worse, I couldn’t help the voice that whispered, if I did, it would be exactly what I deserved.
In this moment, it seemed no one could persecute me worse than my own mind;
I shook my head free of the dark irrational ideas and reminded myself that after all this, I would mostly feel nothing but relief.
I reminded myself, of the nurses explaining that the heavy bleeding would not continue past a week, a tested medical procedure. I held onto rationality and refused to give in again to my worst emotional instincts.
After this, I would feel relief.
My Favorite Black Skirt
I pulled up the satin black skirt decorated with the moon and stars. I had paired it with a sleeveless black crop top today, along with some fishnet stockings.
I peered at my reflection again, in the mirror that hung on the wall across my bed.
My overall look came off as simplistic, the crop top was plain, and there had been no time for my usual red lip today but that was fine because the skirt filled in with a descriptive pattern of a particularly starry night was the cusp of the entire look.
Perfect, I thought, as I gazed at how particularly provocative I looked with the pairing of the skirt and fishnets.
The entire point of this night was to seduce, though we had never met and just barely talked, spare the conversation we’d had for the past two days which had also been mostly dirty talk, his opinion of how I looked seemed so important as I continued to judge my mirrored self.
I hardly knew him, but I wanted to look good for him, I craved to meet his approval and deep down I knew that was just a symptom of something truly broken in my chassis.
There was no time to focus on that now, and the nervousness of what I was set to do was incredibly distracting.
A part of me felt this was incredibly wrong, the voice kept ringing in my head, warning that this decision would bring nothing but regret and peril.
Yet another part of me, the part I would be smart to fight against wanted this, more so I had already told him I was on my way, I couldn’t turn back now.
Yes you can.
I chose to listen to that part of me that I would have been smart to ignore.
I gazed at my reflection once again, yes the skirt was definitely a good choice, it had always been my favourite item in my closet, so easy to pull on, incredibly sexy in a casual style.
I felt if I looked good, if I liked how I looked, it would be easier to focus on that instead of the anxiety that drummed inside me.
The more I gazed at myself, the more it seemed to work, how seductive I looked in the skirt, began to overpower how I felt — sexy, downright fuckable, almost like it transformed me to a different version of myself.
I knew then, that I was going through with it, the part of me that truly wanted it had become overwhelming. The dice had rolled in their favour tonight.
I grabbed my bag, and pushed out of my room, the decision in me already made.
As my legs pushed towards the car, waiting outside for me, my heart thrummed louder and the voice of warning whispered, that after this night all the confidence I felt from my favourite black skirt, would turn to shame.
Then I stepped into the car and it was nothing but silence.