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Panic at the Clinic
by Annabelle Rose
2014-08-19 10:30:38
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An STI... a sexually transmitted infection, could I really be sitting here? One man. When I was a child I thought when I grow up that I would only ever be with just one man. I had no desire to be with more. I wanted to love the man. I wanted to trust him. The child in me grew up. Situations or desires changed, they matured, became distorted, liberated, one man became men.

Could I really be sitting in this place? Thoughts of what led me to this moment raced through my mind. The sexual health clinic was packed, mostly with young people, singles, a few couples. Were they here as a precaution or were they here because of a scare? Were thoughts racing through their minds too? Were they of shame, regret, responsibility? Was this a rite of passage?

I looked up at the posters on the wall describing every sexually transmitted infection. There were large bowls filled with colourful condoms. There were notices to sign up for free trials.

My number was called. I stood up. It was a male doctor. What does it matter? I thought to myself. I wanted to get this over and done with.

He smiled politely as he led me to his office. After gesturing me to sit, I tried to relax. He closed the door.

“So, we saw you last week.”

I nodded. He looked over his notes and then logged onto his computer. It seemed like minutes went by in silence. It was unbearable.

How serious was this going to be? I wondered. What have I gotten myself into? Why did I not get checked before practicing unsafe sex? How could I be so stupid? Even when you think everything will be alright, when you think you will be immune, that nothing will touch you, how can it when you feel so invincible in the moment of lovemaking? Even when you think these thoughts, it can.

“So, we have the results in.”

His face gave nothing away. It was torment for me.

“All is okay. Everything is negative.”

My whole body relaxed in relief until he said that he just had to go to check one more test. He closed the door behind him as I waited again. This time it was for minutes. It was not all over yet.

What would I tell my boyfriend? Does he know the results of his own tests yet? Will he know before me? What could this test be? Why did the doctor not tell me more?

He walked back in, sat down then smiled at me.

“Everything is negative.”

I smiled. I was thankful. I believed in that moment that I would not take any more risks.

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