HOUSING PROJECTS Southern Mississippi 1960s
Lamar held my trembling hand in his sweaty one.
A white doctor in dirty scrubs put my feet in stirrups. My knees locked.
Two colored nurses in plain clothes draped a sheet over a wall-to-wall wire, cutting off my view of my torso. Not that I wanted to watch.
The doctor poured something warm and wet where my thighs met.
It felt like blood—it would soon be blood. Then he spread me open and inserted a cold, metal cylinder. He cranked it wide to make his job easier and my pain more unbearable.
I clenched my teeth into the wooden spoon one of the nurses had given me for pain. A spoon full of teeth marks from those before me.
One of the nurses lifted my shirt and squeezed a cold jelly on my stomach.
“It’s gonna be okay, honey.”
The other waved a wand over the same spot.
A grainy image appeared on a machine. In the center, a flicker.
A flicker that if I weren’t poor white trash maybe I wouldn’t be here. If I didn’t live in the projects. On the other side of the river, that flicker could mean the beginning of something. Not the end.
I turned away. I didn’t want to watch that flicker go out.
Lamar wiped a tear from my cheek before it hit the paper sheet I lay on.
“This is going to be uncomfortable, but I need you to remain very, very still.” Through the sheet I saw the doctor’s headlamp angle down toward his workstation.
Something entered me. It ripped my insides to shreds. Another warm, wet gush. This time I knew it was blood.
Pulling and sucking. Sucking and pulling. I couldn’t hold the tears back any longer and the spoon couldn’t hold back my screams.
“Clean her up.” The other side of the sheet said. Instruments clinked a metal tray.
The nurses washed me up and put a towel between my legs.
“Doc, there’s too much blood.”
“Is she gonna be okay?” Lamar had a desperation in his voice.
“She needs to get to a hospital, STAT.” One of the nurses told him.
“You know the agreement,” the doctor said to him.
“Yes, sir. I know.”
“Get her outta here.”
Lamar lifted me off the table. My head spun and my eyes slammed shut.
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