“You should have told me! Next time, ask me first. I probably can help you way more than any of those doctors who charge so much and yet spend so little time with you. They’re just in and out nowadays. I mean I don’t have a degree, but I’m almost a doctor. I’ve been around doctors enough – my whole family is doctors – so I know enough about how to diagnose and treat just about anything of the run of the mill things you might run into – you know not like cancer or some rare blood disease, but most of the usual stuff. What are your symptoms?”
Margaret tried to move undetectably away from Jonathan. “Sure, OK. Well, actually I’m going to have to go now. Don’t want to be late.”
“You don’t want to be late? What about them being late all the time? Making you wait for hours in the waiting room. Don’t touch the magazines, by the way. I read a study where they tested those things and they found the top ten most dangerous bacteria and viruses on them. Then when you finally do get into a room, you get to sit there on that uncomfortable table, freezing in a paper gown for another thirty minutes. Make them wait! They deserve it!”
Margaret could feel blood rushing to her face, so she laughed extra loudly hoping to cover it up. “They probably do. OK, well, I’ll see you in a little bit. I’ll be back in time for the meeting.”
Jonathan started to follow Margaret. “Next time, really, just ask me. I have a whole pharmacy in my desk, and if I think you need a scrip, my brother-in-law’ll hook me up. Don’t waste your time at those clinics.”
Margaret stepped back. “Good to know. Thanks!”
“I mean it! They have no respect for anyone’s time. You should get lunch first. Take your sweet time getting there. I’m about to go out with the guys in sales. Have you been to that new wings place? A great lunch special. A dozen wings plus potato roll ‘ems for eight bucks. The sodas, of course, are two fifty – that’s where they get you – but still, a good deal. I know you’re not too keen on those guys in sales – they’re a little rough around the edges – but they’re really great once you get to know them. You should join us next time.”
Margaret figured she’d just have to walk away while he was talking in order to be able to leave. “Sounds great!” she said over her shoulder as she walked through the cubicles toward the door.
“What kind of doctor are you seeing, by the way? Hope it’s not the gyno! Ha ha!”
People that had been talking on the phone stopped. People who had been focused on their screens looked up, eyes and mouths wide open. The faces moved from Jonathan to Margaret, looking for her reaction.
Jonathan continued, “I mean, it’s no problem. I can help you if you even if you have a ‘lady’ problem. I mean there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s natural, right? I mean, none of the doctors in my family deal with that kind of thing, but I mean, how different could it be? I mean, we’re all human right? We’re probably all put together basically the same way. What’s the difference, right? My junk is outside my body and yours is in, but it’s all the same right? I mean, not the same. But similar! Instead of testicles you have ovaries. And instead of a penis, you have a – how do you pronounce it? Clitoris, right?”
Silence. All the heads looked down.
“OK, everyone, you need to be adults about this. Margaret has a gynecological problem, and it’s not funny. We need to support her. I mean, it’s probably nothing, but what if it turns out she can’t have babies? She just got married, for god’s sake. I mean, that’s going to be really tough for her and her new husband, potentially. It could end in divorce. I mean if he thought he was marrying someone he could have a family with, and it turns out she can’t do it, he may bolt. I mean, it’s not her fault, but it’s almost like she was keeping a secret from him. She probably missed a few gyno appointments here and there, and maybe it could have been caught early on and fixed, but you know, she was busy trying to have a career, which was a noble thing for her to do. That kind of thing is still hard for women. But here she is now, working her heart out, and with a broken womb, and we’re not going to talk behind her back or make fun of her for making those important life mistakes, because we all make them. All of us. But we learn from them. Margaret has learned, haven’t you, Margaret?”