Friday, December 05, 2014

Cuento de Mi Id

“The Appointment”

Amanda called Victor Friday night and asked if he could take her to the hospital Monday morning. Victor asked her which hospital and then Amanda explained that it was a certain hospital in North Dallas, a hospital whose name Victor recognized because it usually had a lot of protesters out in front.

Amanda called Victor again Sunday night to remind him and to let him know that she would be staying in a hotel. Her boyfriend was supposed to meet her there but he had gotten busy with his meetings and he couldn’t make it. So now Victor had to take her for sure.

Next morning, he arrived at her hotel five minutes early but she wasn’t downstairs yet. He drove around a bit until he finally saw her outside.

He pulled up in front of her and opened the passenger side door. She got in, gave him a brief hug and then started checking the messages on her cell phone.

He got her there about ten minutes late but it didn’t matter because the hospital had told her that she had about thirty minutes leeway. It was so cold a morning that only two protesters had bothered to show up. Neither of them were located anywhere near the front door of the hospital which, ironically enough, faced away from the street. Amanda initially bristled at the thought of confronting the protesters but a moment later she was feeling sorry for them. She told Victor that she really couldn’t afford another child and Victor stayed silent. He agreed once more to stay in the waiting room while she was undergoing the procedure and to drive her back to the hotel when she was finished and he even agreed to sign a piece of paperwork to that effect.

When they went in, the waiting room was playing a DVD of “Footloose” on a flat screen TV. Under the circumstances, it seemed surreal but then Victor found it difficult to think of any movie that could have been showing right then that would not seem surreal.

When they called Amanda’s name, she left behind her purse and jacket but then she came back to retrieve her cell phone. She talked to it more than she talked to Victor and she said nothing about her current child who undoubtedly was spending this week with her ex.

Victor sat in the waiting room and pretended to enjoy the movie. He was surprised at the end to realize that the sharp-faced girl who played Lori Singer’s friend was actually played by Sarah Jessica Parker, an actress he should have recognized but didn‘t. The things you find out, he thought.

The waiting room -- which was nearly empty when they came in -- started to fill up with people, most of them women. Amanda eventually came out clutching a handful of prescription slips and asked him to take her to the nearest pharmacy. He did so, taking care to ignore the protesters as he drove past them on his way to the street.

On the way to the pharmacy, Amanda explained that she had not really wanted to have the procedure that she had just had but she really couldn’t afford to raise another child and her boyfriend especially did not want her to have a child at this time. Perhaps a few years in the future when they were more established they might have one but not now.

Victor said nothing. Victor always said nothing. He listened to her prattle on about how much her new boyfriend loved her and how much money he spent on her and how he wanted to have been here in Victor’s place but he just couldn’t make it back to Dallas in time.

This is just between us, she kept saying to Victor. No one else can know except for you, me and my boyfriend. Especially my ex. You can’t ever tell my ex. Or my former room mate. Not ever.

Victor promised he would keep her secret and then dropped her off at her hotel. As she got out of his car, three words came to mind but he swallowed them hurriedly and only said them when she was already inside the hotel entrance and out of earshot.

Then he drove away hurriedly. And promised himself the stiffest drink he could afford.

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