Pretending

Her face was covered by the strands of hay-colored hair that fell over her eyes as she brought her head down. She pushed them back quickly, but they wouldn’t stay behind her ears. Her long fingers grasped the purple-inked pen tightly and she scribbled roughly, pressing the tip of the pen as she wrote her name on the medical form. L-A-U-R-A. Her eyes had the fragments of tears peeking through the corners, but she kept them at bay. She was not about to fall apart in a waiting room full of overgrown grown-ups who would probably tell her she had no business being there.

When she was finished with the forms, she stood up quickly and walked past a woman with the protruding belly who sat with her hands on each side, providing comfort to the parasite inside. She avoided looking at the roundness that it had, fearing that if she stared long, her own stomach would morph into that shape.

Back at her seat, she put one headphone on and listened to Shakira and Alejandro Sanz. She liked their song, “Una Tortura,” because it made her feel like dancing. Dancing liberated her from the monotonous trash that she had every day and it transported her into a world that she could feel happiness, something she seldom felt. She had briefly felt the happiness when Doug told her she was beautiful and that he could never live without her, but those had proven to be lies and she had chased him out of her life when she told him she had a parasite in her belly.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, she thought to herself, watching the pregnant lady again. That lady was happy; she could smell the happiness and it made her sick.

“I have to throw up,” she announced quietly to no one in particular, and just as quietly made her way to the bathroom.

“Laura Alvarez?” A large nurse called her name right when she was walking out of the bathroom.

“Here,” Laura mumbled, and she followed the nurse in aquamarine scrubs.

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