How to Get a Mammogram
You go to the place. You’ve done this before. You’re not a novice. In fact, you’re a pro. Because you’ve done this many, many times before. So, you get there early. Even so, other people get there before you. So, you have to wait. But not for long. Soon enough, someone tells you it’s time to go in the first room. There, a woman behind a computer does your paperwork. She hands you some papers and tells you where to go. You go down a hallway until you get to a locker room. There, a woman gives you a robe and a bag. You go in a smaller room and change. Then, you come back out. For a while, you wait in another room. Eventually, another woman comes out and tells you it’s time. When you walk in the final room, it’s just you and her. When you see the machine, you remember how big it is. Its plastic panels are waiting to squish your flesh between them so it can see what’s inside of you. For a moment, your mind skips. Is it this time, or the last time, or the time a long time ago when they looked inside and found something wrong with you? Just as quickly, you’re pulled back to reality. For maybe ten minutes, you and the machine are locked in an intimate embrace. One by one, it squeezes each breast as you drape your arms awkwardly around its hard frame. Finally, you’re done, and the only evidence it happened is the pink marks on your chest were it squeezed you so hard that you winced and the woman apologized. As you wait for the woman to hand you a piece of paper, you catch a glimpse of the inside of yourself on the screen. There you are: luminous, the flesh in the shape of your breast, inside of it a map of lines you cannot read. What can you do? You take the piece of paper, you walk out to the car, you wonder when they’ll call you and what they’ll tell you.
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