PARTS AND PIECES
That night rolled around in my head like one of those marble maze games for many years clinking up against dead ends and weaving its way through my everyday experiences. Should this even be a secret? Well, it’s not anymore.
My flashback always begins at the Study Center on campus. I had parked myself in the front room on one of the couches. I was sunken in with some teammates, trying to complete my study hours for the week when my stomach began to hurt.
After some time passed and the pain continued I decided to head toward the basement bathroom, thinking that would take care of it. Sitting there, hearing the occasional door swing open and then click closed, a sink swish on and then off as hand towels were pulled and then garbled up.
I sat there for a bit, but nothing happened. It was weird. Time seemed to move slowly through the pain. I had had kidney stones before in high school, and this seemed very similar. The pain would come and go, and I didn’t know what else it could be.
I was young and we were naive.
After a while, one of my friends came down to let me know my boyfriend had come to pick me up. Thank god. I definitely wasn’t feeling good, and it wasn’t going away.
Hold on a sec, let’s rewind a few weeks…
I called the office and scheduled an appointment just like it was any other annual exam. I had been bleeding for days. My boyfriend and I had only been dating since the beginning of summer. We were young and having fun, stupid fun. He was the one who gave me my first orgasm, and that was amazing! I loved him, and he loved me.
Blah, blah, blah.
Why then, was it so easy to make the call? I quietly questioned myself, but that’s where I kept it, because we were young and a quick decision had to be made for multiple reasons. The in-obvious one was that both of us were playing sports in college, and that would have decidedly ended it for me. This made the weight of the decision feel horribly selfish, but I thought I could carry it. You see, I’ve carried much heavier things.
So, in the coming days, I kept walking around campus like every other normal student: I kept my appointment, and I kept trying to fool myself. I went to class and to practice, I talked with friends (about absolutely nothing that mattered), I slept, I ate, and I studied. Normal.
I remember peeing on stick after stick, just in case it was to have gone away on its own. I wore pads, I used tampons, and my life went on. Ha, who was I kidding?
Myself. I was trying to pull one over on myself.
It wasn’t until I was at practice one evening lifting in the weight room and a trainer whipped my abdomen with a stick. I curled around the object trying to soften the blow to the area I was protecting.
Wait, protecting what?
I picture my eyes rolling back and looking up at him round and oversized, filled with quivering tears. I was mortified.
It was then I realized I cared. I cared deeply, and I really didn’t know what to do.
Thinking backward, it would have been nice if I could have called my mom, but who am I kidding, I doubt I would have had the guts to make that call anyway.
Here is where the heavy I’ve been carrying comes in. My mom was gone, she had been gone since I was eleven, and before that she bounced between being sick and a shell of the person she once was for a very long time. From the age of three years old, when this all started, I had taught myself to rely solely on my own judgement, and now in this extremely surreal moment I had to convince myself I knew what was best. I felt most comfortable in this space. No hindsight. Or, at least I hadn’t truly experienced that yet.
Well, now you should be caught up. There would be one more call I would have to make…
Back to the Study Center we go. My memory tells me I didn’t wait very long for my boyfriend. As we walked out of the building together, I was slightly bent over clutching my stomach. I knew the safety of my car was waiting just around the corner.
As I sunk down into the passenger seat and relaxed, I felt something slip out of me. In that split second, I put the pieces together. I only felt relief when the pain didn’t return.
Without saying much, we drove back to the apartment and I cleaned up in the bathroom.
The next morning the bleeding had stopped, so I called and cancelled the appointment. I felt relief then, too.
This person slips in and out of my mind from time to time, they would have turned twenty-one this year. Could I have really gone through with it? I can’t answer that question now. What I can tell you is, I quit the team a few months later because of knee injuries, and ultimately ended up marrying my boyfriend. We now have three kids, and hindsight is truly a bitch.