The young widow clutched the floral dressing gown to her throat, then slipped her heels from the stirrups at the end of the doctor’s bed, white paper crinkling beneath her as she shifted to sit up. She scanned the doctor’s broad face for a hint of hope. Instead she saw her distorted face reflected in the high mirror on his forehead.
“Congratulations!” he beamed. But she came to him already knowing; she calculated her dates. She calculated the difference in age from her baby at home. She calculated the cruelest number: the weeks since her husband’s death, and the weeks it took for her to become pregnant by another man, a man she did not want, but things were different now. She listened from a distant, automatic well in her mind as the doctor told her in earnest how to care for herself, but she place a hand on his arm and shook her head “No.”
He frowned. “I don’t do those. I don’t do abortions. I don’t take life. I don’t know anyone in the city that does.”
The widow slumped. Silent tears dropped onto the floral gown.
“There’s always adoption or a clinic down in Mexico,” he said. She nodded like a small child. “You can’t wait much longer, or it will be too dangerous.” She took a deep breath and slipped behind the mask of wife and widow.
Pushing grief away, she thrust her chin forward, “I’ll be fine. Thank you.”
At the appointment desk she looked out into the waiting room. She saw her suitor and watched as she might watch a stranger. He was a slim, young man full of promise dressed in, he declared to her, “A suit to be married and buried in.” A cigarette dangled from his right hand. Impatience creased his smile too deep. He’s attractive but not her type, yet time alters everything. Memories pale. A babysitter waits. The suit eager for her news, waits. “We’ll do it right,” he promises. “A scandal averted.”
Prompt by Trifecta ~Week 22
Use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Responses with alternate forms of the word (pluralized, different tense, etc.) will be disqualified. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words.
The Word: scan·dal noun \ˈskan-dəl\
3 a: a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it
b : a person whose conduct offends propriety or morality <a scandal to the profession>