Feeling like a morning after dill

I almost got up to the counter and then bailed.
I’d seen someone I knew getting served.
‘Bugger it,’ I thought and walked up the street to another chemist.
Why was I feeling like this?
I was virtually a married woman, taking responsibility for something that had, in the end, been out of my control.
‘Stuff this,’ I thought.
I marched into the pharmacy, walked up to the counter and slammed my hand (the one displaying my engagement ring) on the counter.
“Can I help you?” asked an assistant.
“Er, I’d like the…” I hesitated as an elderly man moved up beside me.
I inched closer to the counter.
“Can I please have the morning after pill?” I whispered, bravado gone.
“Certainly, just fill out this emergency contraception form,” the assistant replied in full voice, before yelling behind her to the pharmacist: “Morning after pill please Rod!”
I shuffled to the end of the counter, red-faced.
At least filling out a form was less embarrassing than the questions the chemist asked me last time I had to do this: “So when was intercourse?” “And did you use any contraception?” “And what happened to the condom?”
Despite being in the early stages of a relationship with Learner Dad back then, I didn’t have the rock on my finger and so found myself referring to ‘my partner’ in every answer (honestly, he was barely my boyfriend!)
Although it was none of his business, I didn’t want the pharmacist to think I was the irresponsible girl dropping in to the chemist on her ‘walk of shame’ home.
But make no mistake, I’ve been her before.
That time I’d simply written ‘MORNING AFTER PILL’ on a piece of paper and nonchalantly handed it over as though it were a prescription, much to the amusement of the pharmacist on duty.
Despite that incident, I’m really not careless about contraception.
But pills do get forgotten, condoms break and not all IUD’s cooperate (just read about that here).
And I know I’m not the only woman my age occasionally making the cringeworthy contraceptive cruise to the chemist.
One of my friends used to tell her partner the morning after pill cost twice the amount it really did when he went to give her money for it.
She wanted compensation for having to make the trip in the first place.
Another friend I once accompanied to the chemist, to discover she’d concocted a novel request method that avoided any embarrassment.
“I’d like an ECP please,” she’d said at the counter, looking around at the other customers defiantly.
“Sure,” the sales assistant had said, smiling knowingly, before going behind the counter to whisper ‘Emergency Contraceptive Pill’ to the pharmacist.
But you know what, why should there be a stigma?
How can such a responsible action leave you feeling so irresponsible?
If my friend had said ‘morning after pill’ that day, I’d have admired her being so sensible.
The sales assistant would have sent the request back to the pharmacist then moved on with her own life.
The young male customer to her right would have wondered what on earth she was talking about.
And the elderly woman to our left probably wouldn’t have heard a word.
As for the pharmacist?
He would have prepared it for her.
Just as he had for dozens of other women already that morning.