By Alaina Symanovich 

A pregnancy clinic, a winter morning. I remember this street at Christmastime: netted lights, carolers, Joy to the World resounding.

My counselor, a volunteer named Mary, slips me a book on reclaiming my virginity. Its spine stripes the shelf of my church’s library.  Mary passes me a cup.  The test is free, only costs our time.  I empty myself into it, carry it to the exam room where Mary steeps the stick.

She disinfects the countertop after, robing herself in the white smell of Clorox. “So what would you have done”—vise grip on the cloth—“had it been positive?”


Alaina Symanovich studies creative nonfiction in the MFA program at Florida State University. Her work has appeared in Sonora Review, Entropy, The Offbeat, and other journals. Keep up with her at