Last night, I had to go to the pharmacy. I’d been avoiding all places where I was likely to run into people who might ask questions or offer congratulations, and the pharmacy was one of such places. The doctor gave me a prescription for new contraceptive pills, so I couldn’t keep hiding at home any longer. Of course, I could have changed my pharmacy. But that would lead to changing the grocery store, the coffee-shop, the convenience store, the favorite restaurant, the walking route. . . and that way lies insanity.
The pharmacist was on the phone when I approached the counter. She reached into the box with my name (in the course of this pregnancy, I had been assigned a box all to myself at the pharmacy) and got out the pills.
“Wait, this must be a mistake,” the pharmacist said. “These can’t be yours.”
“Yes, they are mine,” I responded.
The pharmacist tried to peer over the tall counter.
“Wait, have you given birth already?” she asked eagerly.
So I told her.
She dropped the phone and stared at me. Then her face crumpled and she grabbed me across the counter and pressed me to her chest.
“This happened to me, too,” the pharmacist sobbed. “It’s been almost 30 years but it never goes away.”
As I walked away, I heard her sobbing and wheezing.