“The Time Your GP Tries to Dissuade You from Getting Your Tubes Tied”
By L. Soviero
He calls you darling.
Are you sure that’s what you want, darling?
But more like, daaaaarling.
And he’s not some old timer who’s been flinging darlings since Reagan. Or since comedians told take-my-wife jokes unironically. He might even be your junior? For a second, you wonder if he’s gay, but what’s that say about you? Tolerating pet names solely based on sexuality.
The AC in the window hacks. Sputters. Dribbles a bit. You wind your leather jacket more tightly around you. This is a deterrent perhaps? An attempt at chilling you into submission?
He readies his squinty eyes. While weaponizing them against you, he chews a pen cap. This feels off, as in doctors should know better than to stick bacteria-doused implements in their mouths.
He asks if you’ve considered other routes.
You say yes but speak straight: I’ve never wanted kids.
Still, he writes IUD in block letters on the back of a blank prescription as though putting it in writing somehow makes it more palatable. Somewhere between slow motion and real time, he leans over and hands it to you. It rests in the bowl of your palm pointless, a top hat on a dog. Except not cute.
You tell him, I don’t want an IUD.
Have you considered switching birth controls? Would your partner and you use condoms again?
You wear your frustration. Stare at him slack jaw yokelled. Maybe you’re groaning too, but with your eyes, not your voice.
He sighs like he’s actually saying the word, Siiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
Says that it’s important you know your options. He seems to mean well, or at least thinks he does.
Except, you came here about tubal ligation. You said those exact words: Can you recommend a doctor for tubal ligation? You made sure to use scientific terminology because tubes tied has always sounded to you like something mechanics do to a car at the shop.
And it’s not a whim — like that haircut that transformed you into Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber. Or that time you bought a tome on sewing that now moonlights as a food tray when you eat takeout Pad Thai in front of the TV.
You’ve been in this seat before, saying this very same thing. And it’s always the same old script. And it’s not just doctors. A diversity of people have the inside scoop on your heroine’s tale.
You might change your mind.
You’re just waiting to meet the right person.
How will you know what your body wants in ten years?
Aren’t you scared you’ll feel incomplete?
Eventually, your GP surrenders to the eye groans and prints a referral. When he hands it over, you whole-body exhale at the sight of a woman’s name. You leave promptly. Head to the Mexican joint on King Street. Order a veggie burrito. Add double guac for two bucks fifty with not a tinge of guilt. You make sure not even the tiniest tomato cube escapes, lick the salsa off your fingertips, clear the guac grout from beneath your nails, scoop the tiny hairs of jack cheese off the crinkly wrapper into your prepared mouth, so that no one would ever be able to know what you ordered. So there’s no trace. Like it never existed.
L. Soviero was born and raised in Queens, New York but has made her way around the world, currently laying her hat in Melbourne. She has an MSc in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh. When she is not writing flash, she works as a Learning Designer. Recent work can be found at Wigleaf, Rejection Letters and New Flash Fiction Review. She has also been longlisted at Wigleaf and spotlighted in Best Small Fictions.