Sandi walked Main, gawking at storefronts extant since 19th century cattle drives fed a hunger for supplies and a limitless thirst for liquor. The original bar remained, although without classic saloon doors endemic to film and television.
Westward and ahead, the sun tickled the jagged horizon. Vapour invisible during the meat of day illuminated into splotches of deep blue and fiery rose, a routine sight to residents. Sandi passed the diner and general store, exchanging pleasantries with townsfolk intent on final purchases before stores closed. Three minutes after starting at the further end of Main where careful Sandi parked clear of other cars, she reached the final block housing the auto parts store and her destination, the pharmacy.
With fifteen minutes to spare Sandi closed on the counter, her spirit floating on found love. She needed protection and sought it. Her doc, newcomer to a town without a physician for a decade, wrote the script earlier that day.
Seventeen and a senior, Sandi missed the whispers reverberating amongst the parent class. ‘Damn liberal doctor, and in our town’, they said, words passed between those loose of tongue and hard of mind. It didn’t matter Doc Shelburne grew up forty miles away in a town smaller than Shelburne Junction, her politics recast her as one from the coasts.
“Hi Sandi,” James Kendall greeted his customer, wearing a wide smile indigenous to the business class. “Someone ill?”
“Hi Mr Kendall. Everyone’s fine. This is for me.” Sandi handed over the paper, intent on wandering aisles for the ten minutes it would take to fill the script.
Few in SJ used hormonal birth control. Those who did obtained it by mail. Sandi didn’t discuss her need with her mother; she knew better. Nor did she ask her five older sisters. She believed all would blab. With professionals, Sandi knew the basics of HIPAA law and believed it secured their silence.
“I’ll be looking around. Back in ten.”
Kendall’s forehead scrunched as he read. His face transformed, settling on a scowl. “Whoa there young lady. I can’t fill this.”
Sandi’s insides tightened, this failure in-store projected upon her Saturday night date.
“Sandi…” Kendall hesitated. He didn’t want to discuss his beliefs with her. “I don’t stock it.”
“Why not?” Sandi probed again. She knew the vast majority of women used birth control. She didn’t want an IUD. She didn’t want a diaphragm. She refused to rely on condoms. Unknown to her, the pharmacy didn’t stock either or anything other than condoms.
“Because… ask your Mom. She should explain it, not me. I’m sorry, but it’s time to close.”
“You close at eight. It’s ten of.”
“I have to get home early.”
A week later, Sandi faced the wrath of her mother, who learned details from James Kendall. Her mom cited embarrassment and willpower. The confrontation came six days after unprotected sex, in a town where no store within a hundred miles stocked Plan B and no facility within a day’s drive performed abortion.