Full Title: The First Time I Went to the Gynecologist, My Mother Said to Bring John Lennon
So here I am, legs spread, feet wedged into floral oven mitts, and John sits in the corner forming chords on the cover of Teen Vogue. John, I say, I respect you for not making any low jokes. Like, you could be saying, imagine there’s no cunt-ry, but no. He smiles, and flowers fall from the ceiling, marigold petals covering my belly, on the shoulder’s of the nurse’s white coat. First time? she asks, as she gels me up. It’s cold. This might hurt a little. Try to relax. So I focus on world peace, but it’s so big, all I can think of are her fingers up there. Then I remember my date at a rocket launch with an engineer twice my age, his hand spacesuit sweaty, while we watched a white tube thrust into the universe. I flinch as metal plies me apart, feel the fumble of latex. John adjusts his Rajasthani vest over his linen shirt. A sitar plays from nowhere, an Indian raga. I see the nurse take out a swab as thick as a small fist. I look over to John for support, and he makes a V shape with his fingers. The plastic handles of the chair turn velvet guitar case lining. The swab is taken. What form of contraception? I expect John to say something predictable, like All you need is love, but his eyes are closed. Maybe he’s meditating. There’s a stain I haven’t noticed where his heart should be, and it’s growing larger by the minute. A crash, the boom of metal hitting tile. He slumps to the floor. I scream. I dropped a speculum dear, says the nurse, who doesn’t seem to notice red rain dripping from the ceiling. Now the room smells of wet steel and rubber gloves. I shut my legs tight. The nurse leaks blood down her pants like she’s lost a life. I jump off the table, cradle John’s head in my lap. I feel for a pulse, but there are only drums. I stroke his long, wet hair. I remove his glasses, put them on. Light dims to a pinpoint. John, I whisper, did it feel like a normal day, when you were shot?
Isabel Spiegel is a fiction writer and poet based in Los Angeles, whose work has been previously published in Corium Magazine. She is a recent graduate of The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.