“I’m trying,” he says, shoving the pills into her vagina. “You gotta just breathe and clunch.”
His eyes focus on her center, all she can see is his eyes peering downward, his pupils focused on her center.
He bites his lower lip. “I think I got it. Can you feel it?”
“I’m holding it. Is it in? Can you see?” she asks, squeezing tight.
“Of course I can’t see. It’s inside,” he shakes his head.
He kisses her forehead, grabbing the other pill from the small bag.
“Let’s do it,” she laughs. “One more couldn’t hurt.”
Their eyes meet and another pill fits into her insides.
Twelve hours later, Thea starts bleeding. He calls in sick and comes to her place, bringing her some minced beef porridge. She hasn’t eaten all day. She can work from home, mostly emailing clients for updates. He puts down the hot bowl in front of her. She’s all curled up with a blanket, her face pale.
“Don’t feed me,” she says. “I’ll eat it later.”
They met in college; she was friends with his sister, Kia, first. They were introduced and hung out at various parties. He seemed smitten. Always the charmer in any social setting, it was an honor for Thea to get his full attention. On their first ‘official’ date, he brought her to a fancy Spanish restaurant. He pronounced paella correctly. She fell in love instantly.
They’ve been together for seven years. Although marriage is never an option, they never discussed the possibility of not ending up together. They probably think they can move to a faraway land where religions don’t matter. Delusional, they are.
Her eyes drift past through the TV, the screen shows Family Guy. He stares at her for a bit and then sits down next to her.
“I didn’t even think of the possibility,” he sighs. “Sorry.”
“We never wore condoms,” she grabs his stomach. “I never reminded you. I didn’t like how it feels either, but I should’ve reminded you.”
“It’s going to be okay,” he reaches for Thea’s thighs.
“My father is dead,” she says. “My mother would oblige. You know that.”
“It’s not about that, I’m just not ready,” he swallows his own spit. “I think this is a curse. Our curse.”
“I don’t really care—” she looks at his eyes. “I don’t mind trying.”
“You know how Bunda gets when it comes to you,” he glances at her and diverts back to the screen.
“No, no. Don’t start. This is not on her. This is on us. This is not on me. Why should it be just me?” she says, hollowing her eyes to him.
“I feel as guilty as you. It’s fine. This is not only on you,” he turns to face her, squeezing her right thigh.
“Nothing is fucking fine,” she screams, throwing her blanket to the ground and she stands up. “What if I get cancer? It hurts. It’s like something is gorgling inside my stomach and chunks would just drop from my fucking pussy.”
“I’m sorry,” he tries to hold her hands. “I wish we can do something else. I wish I could feel your pain.”
“You can’t. There’s nothing we can do. It’s all me.”
He stands up. “Let me make you tea.”
“You could’ve told your parents first.”
He stops and walks to her. “Or yours.”
He kneels and clutches her hands. “You know what we have to do after this.”
“I’ll have to cleanse my soul,” she laughs and kisses him. “I know. Good thing I know. Never mind me. Don’t be so bitter. We had a great run.”
“Don’t say things like that,” he takes her back to the couch, slouches next to her and grabs the bowl. “Do you want a bite? You haven’t eaten.”
With his spoon, he feeds her. She falls asleep after that. He has to lift her up and brings her to bed.
A couple of hours later, when he’s drooling and she had to change her pads for the twentieth time, she realizes they aren’t holding hands. She doesn’t mind it this time.
She calls Kia on Facetime Audio. It’s seven a.m. in Boulder.
“I already heard from my brother,” Kia yawns. “Are you alright?”
“It’s gone,” she twirls her hair. “I think it should be clean now.”
“Did you make an appointment with the gyno?”
“I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“Just to make sure everything’s clear out,” Kia says. “It snowed yesterday, the class got canceled.”
“I wish I have it as easy as when you did it,” she says. “I have to wear a ring just to get a pap smear.”
“But the important thing is that it’s done,” Kia says. “There’s no other alternative. I’ll send you the follow-up instructions I got from Planned Parenthood.”
“You know how long it took me to get the pills?” Thea looks at her face in the mirror, squishing her cheeks. “I have to ask a friend of a friend of a friend.”
Kia chuckles. “That’s the benefit of an extrovert. You know so many people. I wish I can be more like you.”
“You jerk,” she laughs.
“It should be the same pills, no? Just make sure you go for a checkup. Just check what the name is and google it.”
“Probably. When we received the package, it was just inside a small black bag. Nothing else.”
When Thea hangs up, she starts sobbing. Isn’t it illogical? Isn’t it a woman’s choice, to be able to decide whether she would like to have a kid or not? She may want to, she may not want to, it shouldn’t matter. But see, Thea never thinks of having kids as a choice. She always thinks that if she were pregnant, it’s a given thing. A miracle, even. Perhaps she does want kids, but not now, and certainly not with him.
The doctor’s session was unpleasant. She decided to go in by herself and let him wait outside. A lost cause, a waste of time. The doctor wouldn’t do a pap smear on her because she forgot to wear her ring.
She still needs to find somewhere else to get checked, but she’s tired and hungry. So they eat some pork noodles at their usual place and then he drops her off.
He tries to kiss her but fails. She marches to her apartment and calls Kia.
“I can’t live without you.”
“Did you tell him already?”
“Of course not.” Thea sits down on her bed. “Maybe later.”
“There’s always a grieving period. It’s also a loss, like a loss of loved ones,” Kia says while chewing.
“Are you munching on jellybeans?” Thea laughs.
“I’ll send you a care package soon.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Thea says. “With him, it’s already scarred, but with you, no.”
“I know, darling. I know.”
Ninda Daianti is an author, english creative writing instructor and a connoisseur of beer. When she’s not busy sharing experiences and insights to enhance gender equality, Ninda can be found in restaurants where they serve rice and tender meats and on her desk reminding herself that life is a constant ebb and flow. Ninda currently resides in Jakarta, Indonesia with two cats and a dog. You can learn more about her and her work at www.nindadaianti.com.