One Step of Many

Written by: Jasmine DePalmo

With a pulse beating faster than I could count if I tried, I turned the handle and inched
open the door. A bell chimed above me, and the woman at the window looked up with a smile.
“Hi, there!” She said, pulling the window back, “How can I help you today?”
Face void of emotion, I looked away. I knew I should respond, but didn’t know how.
Leaving my left hand on the door handle, ready to turn back, I gave myself time to take in what I

The room, light grey, shone softly with sunshine.
The chairs were socially distanced –a few more recently occupied.
A radio played in the background, the latest in pop culture.
The woman at the window was patiently waiting.

I stood there and thought. This was one step of many –I had some big choices to make.
Last month’s period was missed, and so was last week’s. I brought my right hand to my belly
button, and let it rest there for a bit. Having done the math countless times, I figured seven weeks
at most –but she could tell me for sure. A pregnancy test and an ultrasound. That’s what I

The woman at the window was patiently waiting.
Once more, I looked around, gathering confidence for what came next. My eyes rested on
the brochures, displayed neat and abundant. I knew a few names, and most looked promising. I
let my left hand fall from the escape route I deeply desired, and heard the door close behind me.
With a pulse beating slightly slower –a rate I could count if I tried –I took a step forward. Just
one step of many towards the woman at the window who was still patiently waiting.