After the third miscarriage, John promises to get a vasectomy so I won’t feel like it’s my fault. The very words shift all the blame to me, and I regret telling him about my past abortions as a teenager. That I’d changed my mind about not wanting kids.
When the nurse calls him back, I slip out of the doctor’s office and wait in the elevator. As the steel doors slide closed, they show me the reflection of a freckled face I haven’t seen in nearly thirty years.
She cowers in the furthest corner, peers up at me, her eyes big and wide. When ours connect, she quickly faces the wall.
I feel the motherly urge to protect her, shield her from all the bad decisions she’ll inevitably make in the years to come.
“What floor?” I ask.
“First,” the mousy voice replies.
My finger hovers over the “1” on the keypad. Next to it, the tag “Family planning.”
When I turn around, she’s not there, but I still see her image in the doors.
“Are you sure?”
She shakes her head.
I punch “G” for the parking garage instead.
When the doors open again, a girl in an oversized sweatshirt runs out.
© 2021 Nortina Simmons
There are plenty of Twilight Zone episodes about having an encounter with one’s younger self, but I would say this story draws its inspiration from “Spur of the Moment.”
We’re going strong with our marathon! I’ll step away for some coffee and be back in an hour!