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The Ovary


Sarah Black


I’ve been expecting something like this, but I thought it would be the breast. That left breast. Nobody’s favorite, it got raging mastitis after I went back to work and tried to pump. I got a mammogram for a ghost lump last year, but it was clean, and the radiologist who came in to do the ultrasound blew whiskey breath in my face while he fumbled around, my breast sitting like a puppy in his big hand. Talk about Déjà vu. I felt seventeen again, except for the strong urge to slap his face.

I know why that ovary has turned on me. We’re slouching like a rough beast toward Bethlehem (not my line), and there has only been one egg chosen in nearly thirty-five years of potential fertility, that precious son lying asleep in the other room, and it must have come from the right ovary. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, is that it? That left ovary, she must be like one of those people who checks the size of your piece of cake, sure yours has more frosting, a rosette, while she is left with a middle piece.

It started with a strange itching on the skin, the tiniest lump in the groin. The tech who did the pelvic ultrasound tried to give me a reassuring smile, but she stumbled over her feet on the way out of the room, running to summon reinforcements. The doc wasn’t as worried. “Perimenopause. Probably a follicle or a cyst. You’re still ovulating, you know.”

Yes, I do know, but we’re in the countdown now, the party’s almost over, and I’m sorry I only had one child, that precious boy asleep in the other room, but it was all so much harder than I had anticipated and the opportunity for a little sister slipped away. And now that ovary is out for revenge.

I’m sorry, I’m sorry, okay? Give it a rest, honey. None of us get everything we want in life, but we don’t throw a tantrum and turn metastatic out of revenge. Keep a sense of perspective, for Christ’s sake. We had a good long run. No reason we can’t continue to live together in peace for many years to come. And if you continue to fuck with me, I’m going to have you surgically removed.

The Change is going to be hard on both of us, I know that. Let’s just calm down. No need to let things get adversarial. I have loved you a very long time, and I have feared you on more than one occasion. But I have never ignored you, never, not once in all these years. You are my eggs, my babies, and I hold you as precious. So let’s try a little harder to get along. A few more years, then we change, and you can sleep tucked up deep in my pelvis, flush with warm blood, and let my beating heart lull you into sleep.

SARAH BLACK shares...

SARAH BLACK is a fiction writer living in the American West. You can read more of her flash fiction at her . She's had stories published in Word Riot, Flashquake, Slow Trains, Rio Grande Review, Ink, Sweat and Tears and the Angler.
"I wrote this story after a camping trip with my son this summer up to Glacier National Park - We were moving from Alaska, driving down through Canada on the Alcan."