What better way to celebrate senior year of high school than an unexpected pregnancy between my best friend and his lady? Both of them had aspirations for the future that did not include any children with any immediacy, so they decided that an abortion was their best choice. Knowing both of them as well as I did, I agreed.
He made up some bullshit about not being able to get out of work, so I cleared my day and took her to the clinic. The waiting room was filled with people there for similar procedures, and people who were just there to receive any of the other low-cost medical services the office provided. It was not a lively bunch, and there was a hush that was noteworthy even by comparison to other doctors’ offices. Her name was called, and I went with her to the counter because what else was I supposed to do?
“Can you sit back down?” she asked me.
“Why? I’m not doing anything over there. I don’t mind standing here with you.”
“No, it’s just that… I don’t want everyone to think we’re together.”
I turned to the quiet room and said, “Hey – I just want everybody to know we’re not together!” My voice carries. I did not need to shout. I did anyway. She promptly punched me in the arm, blushed, laughed, and told me to sit down again. I listened this time.
She sat back down after checking in and filling out the necessary paperwork. I continued making shitty jokes about the people around us to try and ease some of her tension. It was marginally successful, her name was called, I squeezed her hand and watched her disappear into the treatment area.
“I’ll be right outside waiting in my car, so just call me when she’s ready to go,” I told the staff behind the counter.
“The procedure lasts a couple hours. If you have any errands you want to run, you should have time,” the nurse told me.
“No, I’d rather be here just in case.” I sat in my car reading Men’s Health and GQ magazines with the air conditioner blasting, and a Tenacious D album playing loudly through my crappy sound system. It was a hot summer day in the San Fernando Valley, and it was untenable to me that she get out of the procedure and into the heat and discomfort of the valley in the summertime.
They were pretty spot-on with their time estimate. She stammered back into the waiting room, significantly more pale, drowsy, and sans baby. I helped her into my car, and she didn’t want to go home in the state she was in, so I sat with her for another couple hours while she napped. I got her a couple Gatorades to down on the way back to her parents’ house, where she presumably avoided the topic of where she had been all day.