A Banana Tree, with Peppers, Verse 5

by Alexis Marie

She’d never had a pap smear prior to that moment. The nurse gave her a long enough moment of privacy that she was able to undress, fold her clothes, slip into her robe, cry, look over to the small metal instrument tray, notice the speculum, and panic. 

They told her to sit and prop her legs apart. She had stripped her panties. She felt so bare there. Exposed, she felt completely naked – never mind the hospital gown she wore – and she had never felt so self conscious. Comically, she began thinking,  ‘Am I clean enough there?’ ‘Is it swollen-looking?’ ‘Does it –‘

The doctor entered. Male. She trembled. She was nervous, and scared. 

He received her paperwork from the nurse. They began to discuss the reason for her visit. She fumbled over her words and her answers, her tongue tangled and knotted within itself, face red and voice shaking. 

The nurse had already explained to her how the speculum would work. The doctor asked if she had ever had a pap swear before, she said no. 

He was surprised by that, but recovered quickly. When he had amble enough information, he swiveled in the chair to the spot in between her legs. This was it. This was happening. The nurse handed him the speculum. They told her to relax. 

It pinched and pulled. It was invasive. She cried at once. He searched for vaginal tears, and found none. Only a half of her expected him to. She’d never felt so embarrassed to be alive.