This is the story of a body, born head-first into the hands of a young midwife with cowering blue eyes and a timid pink smile. She comes to work in this body factory every day. She knows the story by heart. The fluorescent lights from above pierce the body’s soft skin, and it crosses my mind to ask the young midwife about her hair. I can smell the lavender and citrus mix in it, and it reminds me of my sister, so educated and aware. I start to regret.
The body screams as the midwife wraps it up, its eyes squeezed closed. I strain to see. It is just one in a series of bodies, a series of whites, pinks, reds, purples, and tans. This one has ringlets of black like its mother, like me, I’m sure. Or maybe I’m just imagining it.
I see the scene from a distance, like I’m on the moon or floating in space, my twenty-two years on earth just a microscopic fabrication. And then I’m right there, here, listening for another force of air to be expelled, then taken in. The body wails as the young midwife wipes it clean of blood. The white towel is then tossed into a bin that says “waste”, and the body is relinquished to a man wearing a hazmat suit. The man in the hazmat suit puts the body in an opaque box on the counter. Like a casket, my sister had warned me. She’d read about it in the books, had said it’s not worth it, to do what I’ve done.
The man then shoos the young midwife to the next bed so that she can tend to another. The next one is ready. And then another. They are all ready. Like clockwork. He doesn’t look at me. He is concerned about profits.
It is my body, the man in the suit says, his glance falling at my stomach in disgust. Then a plastic smile. This is the worst of it, he says. You won’t think about it after this because now it’s mine. Poof! It’s like it never happened. Hahahahaha. He has a laugh that bounces once before falling flat.
No, it’s my body, I say.
They have not sewn me up yet. They have not let me hold it. The room is gray; the shades are pulled. It’s as gloomy as any other factory that uses human labor.
Boy or girl? I ask. My sister said they never tell you, but I ask anyway.
It’s a body, the man says.
It’s mine, I shout. I want to see it.
The man says no. You have no rights, he says. You have no rights to your body.
My sister had told me not to argue.
Please! I say, but my voice is wilted. The man says, here, as he injects me with a gray fluid. Gray like the room. You won’t remember anything when you wake up, he says. Everything will be normal.
No, I say.
You don’t have a choice, the man says. It’s done. I hear my sister’s voice telling me tellingmeto just. Just. So I do and. the effectsare immediate.
Its my bdy, I say. I wunt to see
Yu might fel tired. Its bess if youdonnt remmber.
Itss my bdy, i say. i reacch forit butitsgone Leemmee holdit lemmme at leasseeit. lemmeee toush it
Jessica Klimesh enjoys reading and writing innovative flash fiction. When she’s not experimenting with form and language in her own work, she’s editing others’ technical, academic, and creative manuscripts. She holds an MA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. Her fiction has previously appeared in Unlikely Stories Mark V and The Mark Literary Review.