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Chasity Simmons has to go to the doctor's office for a well-woman exam. She is asked to take an HIV test...


Submitted:Mar 24, 2010    Reads: 199    Comments: 3    Likes: 1   


Proceeding to head home, after dropping her off at the bus station it was 6:00am when I opened the back door. The couch looked very enticing. Falling on it, landing on two pillows, a thought occurred about the doctor's appointment in a couple of hours. The well-woman yearly exam looked dreary by the second as my eyes closed.

The alarm sounded off, and my body was not ready for what was about to happen next. Picking up the phone, and dialing the doc's office number to reschedule the appointment, the voice prompt named Tracy, says, "You are caller number 19, please stay on hold; the next available operator will answer your call." I decided to hang up the phone, shower, and go.

Half-sleep, the drive was peaceful. There were many protesters standing outside of Zuri African-American Women's Medical Center in mid-town, which awoke me as I passed by them. Signs aligned with all different types of rhetoric about abortion, religion, and pregnancies were plastered on small-handed billboards. I was not ready for this morning. Thank heavens I made a cup of coffee before leaving the apartment.

Parked, getting out of the jeep, I see a Caucasian woman standing across the street. She screams as I look in her direction, "Ma'am I am here to escort you to the front doors. Don't mind the protestors, come on across the street." Quickly I move, as she speeds up to meet me.

Walking inside the building, it was a regular routine: walk through the metal detectors, hand my i.d. off to the receptionist, and state my appointment time. Next, I treaded up the circular stairway and saw there were many people sitting outside the lobby; it was going to be a long wait, I said to myself as I walked through the lobby in to the main office's corridor. I never took off my shades approaching the front desk-counter.

I could feel women and men looking at me; it felt claustrophobic. I needed to sit down.

~

Reaching for Soul Kiss a novel by Shay Youngblood inside my purse, I look up and see that my feet are touching another girl's. There was no room in the waiting area to let my feet breathe. It smelled too, because of all the bodies in the room. I wanted to go back home, get on the couch, and finish dreaming. I started to read.

Turning to page sixty-five, my name was called. "Chasity Simmons please report to the door marked Covered Insurance."

I never really thought about having insurance, until I opened the doors with this new inscription today. Was I privileged or different from the women who had to go through the doors marked Government Assisted Insurance?

Standing inside the door waiting for someone to help me, a Mexican-woman walks up to me and says, "My name is Monica Rodriguez; I will be taking your blood and getting you ready for you exam; follow me."

A frown came upon my face as I walked behind her; hopefully my health would be okay at thirty-one.

Walking down the hallway, we turn right, and enter Room #289.

"Please have a seat Ms. Simmons," the nurse assistant says with a smile.

Monica Selenez looks at the African-American young woman and is concerned with her demeanor. Chasity looked to be an artist with all of the different colors that exuded her outfit, but seemed uncomfortable about something.

Monica reached for the young woman's chart.

"Okay, we are going to take your weight, get some blood for your Iron/HIV/Syphilis test' and get you undressed for the doctor to do the exam. Don't be alarmed with the test' I am just going to prick your finger and you will not really feel a thing," she says eagerly.

I look at Monica for a minute and start thinking about the acroynms-- HIV.

I had never wanted to take a test because I believed that GOD would let me know when something was wrong with my body. Hell, he made me, right? I know other people felt different about my views; but I truly believed that I would know if something was wrong with me.

"I think I am going to pass on the HIV part. I do not think that I need one. I have been with the same partner for four years and know that I am faithful-and believe he is too," I say with a screech in my voice.

Ms. Selenez looks at my chart, and says as if she were my big sister, "Well, I understand that you might be scared, but you should go ahead and take it. You are at an age, where you should know; it is for your health."

Moving back in the chair, I begin reminiscing about all of the people that I had been with, beginning with Piqué my first.

I used a condom with him; I slipped a couple of times, with him. Charles, Pepper, Marcus, and Amano, were my other rendezvous'. The love bug touched me a few years ago, and Malcolm has been around for a while. He could be marriage material.

"Ms. Simmons, have you decided if you are going to take the HIV test," Ms. Selenez asks again.

"I guess I will."

Why did I just say that? I do not want a fucking test. I am okay. I was okay on Monday after having sex with Malcolm. I did not get mine, but it was good. I trust him; I trust myself. I trust GOD. I trust my body. I know when something is wrong with me. Scientists + the government have said we have to do this to ensure that we are not diseased. I ain't diseased. When I had those two miscarriages, I know they secretly tested me. I am okay. I don't need this. I am okay.

~

The nurse opens up a drawer next to her, and takes out a small needle- device, three tubes for blood samples, and cotton balls. She motions for my hand. I give it to her.

"Don't worry Ms. Simmons; you are doing the right thing. It is for the best; trust me."

I look at her almost about to cry. I was about to find out if I was going to live or die.

"When will I get the results back," I ask with anticipation.

"The test results will be back in fifteen minutes," Ms. Selenez says back.

Quickly, she took my right hand, pulled my middle finger towards her, and pricked it.

In fifteen minutes, I would know if I would live to see thirty-two. Why did I wait so long to take this test? I mean, I am smart. I know the implications for having a disease of this magnitude. Many women who are African-American get the disease from their boyfriends/husbands, and thought they were faithful. I should just chill and know that this is going to turn out okay. I have nothing to worry about.

My subconscious was not convincing me, in all honestly; I wanted to run outside, and breathe. All of the other small procedures were now being implemented, including my weight assessment. I did not want that answer either.

It was now time to head in to the next room to prepare for the exam. The room had that same smell that was in the lobby. At least they took the time out to provide blankets as I look in the chair where my clothes would be. It does get cold, with all of your clothes off, with barely anything to cover-up the nakedness.

"I am going to let you get undressed, and inform the nurse that you are ready. Oh! I will also go check on the test for you," the nurse assistant says with a smile.

I took off each piece of clothing as if it was my last moment to live. The red blanket lay on the shoulder of the chair, and the lights were bright in the room. There were blinds that hang in front of the windows, and medical shit on each wall. I wanted to go home, feeling trapped. It was time to lie down.

I think fifteen minutes have already passed. Tears started to run down my face as my head touched the pillow. They were of sadness, and uncertainty. I admit, I am scared. The tears will not stop rolling; I close my eyes. My life flashes before me.

Where is that fucking nurse? She made me do this. I never wanted to take this test. I am healthy. I have safe sex. I love my boyfriend; he loves me. I ain't no nasty girl; my princess is clean. I want to get out this damn room. She took my blood, how do I know that I did not get it from that prick from the needle she used? I can't move; my body is stiff. What will happen if I am positive? Whom will I tell first? Will I tell him, or call my mom. Will he still want me; will my family desert me? Will people know when I walk out this room that I might be HIV positive? My hands are shaking; I am shaking. I don't want this answer. I want to go home, get back on the couch, and reschedule this appointment. I can't though.

The door opens...

"Ms. Simmons; it's me the nurse' assistant. It will take a couple of more minutes for your test," she whispers as she moves the curtain away from the bed.

Monica looks at Chasity. "Chica, you are going to be okay. There is nothing to be worried about, just try to calm down a little bit. I will go ahead, stand here, and wait five more minutes and you should know. This is for the best baby. Do not get so choked up. Many women take this test everyday," she retorts, as I look out the window, still crying.

"I don't want to be here. I want to leave. I am scared as shit. Just leave the room, please," I demand.

The nurse' assistant walks out the room without responding.

Back in my pity.zone I start thinking about the two children that I lost in my early twenties.

Where would Alexis, and Camaron be today had they lived. Would we live in Chicago, or Texas? Would their fathers be around? Would I be married? Would we be able to afford health care? I wanted to have kids; I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to be a good mother. I am not a mother today.

The thoughts stopped as the door re-opened. My heart starts beating fast; this was it.

"Hello, Ms. Simmons. My name is Dr. Cortez; I will be doing your exam today."

She noticed that I had tears running down my face.

"Why the tears," she asks, while staring at me as though she had no idea about the damn test.

"I just took a freaking HIV test and the results are not back yet. I am about to lose my mind. Why is everyone asking me why I am crying? Don't you know that this answer could change the rest of my life," I scream back at her.

"Okay, Okay, I understand how you feel. I will go check right away. Everything will be okay Ms. Simmons, just be patient," the doctor says as she walks towards the door.

I start thinking again and crying.

I do not give a hoot if she thinks that I am crazy. I mean maybe I am crazy. Crazy to be in this damn office on a beautiful day like it is outside. I could have enjoyed staying asleep for a little while longer, maybe jumped on my bike and rode the town for a bit. This is too much stress for one day. I want to go home. However, I want to know my answer before I go home. How do you tell someone you are HIV positive? Do you just walk up to them and say, "... today I found out that I have HIV, are you still my friend?" That is so freaking corny. I am delirious right now. I need a joint real bad.

~

The door reopens. It seemed like each step Dr. Cortez took towards me was a moment in my life that counted for something. I laid back; eyes open, my tears were stagnant.

"Chasity, the results have come back; you are negative," she says with a smile.

I continue to lie on my back, and tears started to roll down my face again. I held my eyes tight and twitched them as hard as I could.

I was okay. I was going to live. I was going to be able to write another story. I was going to be able to walk outside and smell the fresh air, knowing for another day I could live. I wanted to live. I wanted to continue down the path that I was going. I could go, now. For one more year {until the next exam}, I could do more to make my situation better, less frightening. The exam was important. I am important. It was important-too know.

"Ms. Simmons, are you ready for the exam?"

"Yes, I am."





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