The body plagued by little bloodsuckers
They’ve always done my sonograms in tiny windowless rooms—warm and humid rooms with overhead lights they can dim so I don’t have to close my eyes when lying back. I think they save the bigger rooms for women who have someone with them. Technicians always speak in soothing tones, their practiced expressionless faces turned slightly away, focused on my insides rather than my external presentation. Not that I cry or anything — maybe a little sharp intake of breath as they push down on the bladder they make me keep full — because I’ve practiced my own expressionlessness, too.
It’s easier to wear dresses when you go, but no one tells you that before your first one. With a dress, there’s no wriggling my pants down and my shirt up while trying not to rip the paper on the table, no tucking the zipper of my jeans under the folds of my burgeoning belly without it scratching. With a dress, I can just pull it up over my waist (like that last time we had sex, when we couldn’t wait to undress, mutually desperate for that moment of ecstatic physical connection) and pull my stockings or underwear down, and, when it’s done (again, like that last time we fucked), wipe away the goo that’s left over and get on my way.
My last one was different, of course. Hung over after two days of post-breakup binge drinking, exhaling mezcal fumes with every breath that the technician must’ve smelled, it took three attempts to get my dehydrated husk of a 40-year-old body to have a full enough bladder for the machine to look inside my uterus. I was glad there wasn’t an empty chair next to the table for a once-loved one to sit in, and when she pressed down and I inhaled sharply as my insides appeared in black-and-white on the just-visible screen, it was less because of how badly I had to pee and more because I heard his voice in my head, telling me how he hadn’t wanted more children but that he thought he should have one with me.
I closed my eyes and counted to 10 as she clicked and typed, and clicked and typed, forcing the muscles under my eyes to relax and the ones under my throat to contract, not crying.