You go through a metal detector and a security guard to enter the Planned Parenthood waiting room. You fill out paperwork that asks about your sexual behavior and asks with disturbing repetition if you have ever felt afraid with your male partner. You go in and the nurse asks you again. Then the nice doctor comes in and asks you again. Then you lean back and spread your legs and she knits her brow looking at your thighs and says, "What are these bruises from?"
"Oh, from sex," you say matter-of-factly. You'd almost forgotten they were there.
"Are you sure? Are you sure there's not something you're not telling me?" she says, looking you in the eye, raising eyebrows, so serious, and you are under fire, and suddenly you are a frightened, abused woman. For a moment in the doctor's mind you are weak and desperate and your boyfriend is a monster.
So you look her back in the eye and say, "Yes, I promise. We just, you know, like it rough sometimes. Heh." And you shrug and try to add levity and try to crack her assumptions while knowing there's really no way you can. She will see you how she wants to in the end.
Then she opens you up and looks in your vagina and says with surprise and perhaps a bit of respect, "Oh. You did have some rough sex!" And you feel the shift and you know she sees you now for what you are, a horny freak and not a domestic violence case, and you feel better but then sad thinking of how many women must lie about their bruises to make this doctor so distrustful of simple explanations.
When you leave she hands you a bag full of lube for your "marathons," as she puts it. You thank her and take your lube and your prescriptions and walk out to the lobby where your boyfriend is waiting and you tell him, "Hey, we don't have AIDS," and you walk laughing at the doctor's reaction to your bruises arm in arm down Comm Ave in the grey dusk, laughing through the residential streets and the paint-peeling wooden houses and broken-swing porches, laughing and laughing together all the way home to your safe warm bed.