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Jennifer Meccariello

She ran her hands down my side like the other doctor did three weeks ago. She gasped like he did. I shuddered, again, thinking about the intricate structure of bones, muscle, and flesh interwoven over and under that little protrusion, that little lump, that little thing that might ruin the next year of my life. Might ruin my life.

“Fat lump,” the doctor pronounced with a snap of her gum, her hot, canine breath reaching around my ears into my nose, her gloved hands palpitating my ribs.

“Excuse me?”

“Fat lump,” she repeated, unaware that I didn’t know what that meant and that all my sweat glands were crying out in wet unison. Her chin nodded defiantly as she stumbled backwards into the only chair in the room, save the one that my shirt and small white bra with the little stars on it were draped over. She was crass in her explanation, like someone who’s seen too much porn doesn’t blush anymore, breezing through why fatty deposits sometimes collect in strange places on our bodies, and that it had nothing to do with my diet or exercise or weight. In fact, she had multiple fat lumps, and did I want to see ‘em?

I just sat there, exposed, my nipples hard and pale under the fluorescent lights, the exam-room cold. I said the word aloud that my head hadn’t been able to wrap around since the last doctor said “oncologist” and wrote a name down on a script.

“Cancer,” I said. She laughed. Told me to put my shirt back on, cover up my little breasts. Heat flashed into my face, and I was savagely reminded of ill-fitting prom dresses and the search for the elusive 36-A.

"It’s a good thing you did a monthly exam,” she said. I didn’t, I wanted to scream at her. A boy found it. I was having sex you big jerk—little breasts and all. You should see them when I’m on top, lady. They don’t swing, stay nice and firm and will for the rest of my life. No sweat under them, no rashes, no underwire.

But I don’t because she’s a doctor and that’s not what you do. What if a truck hit you and the only person who could help you was her, but you had just called her a fat fuck so she lets you die?

She’s clutching my paperwork and smirking at my triangle bra. Before she leaves she pats my left boob like a coach would his star player’s ass, and tells me to pay at the counter.

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