THE TWO fingers holding my cigarette were shaking. I had one hour to go and I was scared shitless… almost. I’d been brave so far. Now I wanted to be hysterical but it was too early in the day and the toilet did not look like the perfect location for such drama. I was going to the hospital that morning so that the doctor could complete what my body had started: a spontaneous abortion.
Flashback: The last time I had sex with him can be called a desperate effort. He said he was quitting my life and the country and I did the cheap thing, I used my body to try and let him know what he would be missing when he left. Neither of us thought I’d get pregnant. What we didn’t know was that I already was.
I was ten weeks pregnant when my body decided it had had enough. No, I didn’t notice that I’d started eating for two or craving chocolate. I refused to acknowledge the fact that I’d missed my period for two months. I was in denial and so was my body. But one night I found myself sitting on the pot, clutching my belly and feeling flesh drop out of my body. I don’t mean to be so graphic but that’s what it was. My dead foetus was flushed away and there isn’t a single word I can think of to make it sound better.
At one point of time, out of sheer curiosity, more than anything else, I assure you, I pulled out the flesh from my insides. Objectively, it was the most beautiful colour I had ever seen, black tinged in red. Shocked, I washed it before I chucked it down the pot with the rest of the blood. Did I feel sorry for myself? No. For the first time, there was no selfpity. I was fighting to stay alive as I watched rivers of blood course down my legs. I felt like a silly victim in a bad slasher movie. I watched for the next four hours.
I went back to bed and slept, only to wake up in a pool of blood. The weirdest reactions take place. I’m a stickler for cleanliness and I picked up a rag to clean the floor. Later that morning I made my way to the doctor. She looked friendly till she examined me. She said “Oh” — an underrated word, we don’t think too much of it till it is uncontrollably knocked out of us. She said grimly that I needed an ultrasound, stat. Having once watched eight hours of Grey’s Anatomy back-to-back, stat was a word I was familiar with.
My boss had called me in the morning. I told her that I would be slightly late because I would have to go to the hospital because I was bleeding abnormally. Her reaction was nothing short of comic. “You have three stories to file. Hurry!” I hurried. Am I a slave to the wage? Yes. Deadlines, office politics, interviews are so much easier to deal with. I’m not one of your broken-hearted ladies looking for love. Work is peaceful, comparatively.
I watched rivers of blood course down my legs. I felt like a silly victim in a bad slasher movie
Dr G was shocked when I told her that stat was not happening. “I don’t know what you’re trying to prove here, but here’s a prescription to stem the flow.” I already liked this woman. I went to office and got yelled at by the boss. I cried tears of frustration. I filed three stories under three hours, a task I’ve never managed to do on a normal day. My boss must have felt a pang. She insisted I take her fancy car for my ultrasound. At first contact of the ultrasound joystick to my belly, the doctor looked at me and sighed. I was getting used to that sigh by now. “Tell me I’m not pregnant”, I urged her. “You’re not. Anymore.” On hearing that, I reached out to my stomach and patted it. “You’re such an intelligent body. You know I have a job. And middle-class parents who would freak out. Good job done, uterus.” The doctor couldn’t decide if she wanted to smile or frown.
Two days later I had the operation. It’s taken me more than a month to put all this down. I’m stumbling from one day to another now and maybe looking back today will give it a much needed different perspective. You tell me.
Anonymous is 25. She is a journalist based in New Delhi