Have you ever had a moment in time where you wish you could go back and change the outcome? Changing the outcome wouldn’t have changed the end result, but it would’ve given the author of this more inner peace.
I was twenty-two years old when I got pregnant for the first time. That was twenty-six years ago. I made an appointment with Dr. William Connors. He had jet black hair, dark brown eyes, and he was a little too thin. He wasn’t so thin that he looked sick or anorexic. It looked normal for his frame size, so I thought nothing of it.
I was surprised when he began flirting with me. I’m sitting there thinking “I must be misunderstanding what he’s saying to me because guys just don’t flirt with pregnant women.” He continued to flirt with me. After about three visits, I had to ask him if he was for real or not. His answer was “Some things are better left up to the imagination. “ I took that to mean that he was never going to do more than imagine with me, but was he imagining it with me? I didn’t know what to think. I decided as long as it remained not more than a fantasy, I could live with it, so I continued to go to him. Since it seemed like what we had was nothing more than playful banter, I began to relax, and I eventually did it back with him.
While I felt like I looked like death warmed over, he continued his minor flirtations with me. I rationalized it by saying “This must be something he does with all his patients. Like it’s his way of saying they weren't less pretty just because they were pregnant.” Years later, I came across some information that causes me to think differently about that.
I finally have my baby, and I get my looks back. I got my hair permed and styled. On the day of my six week checkup, I fixed myself up like I was going on a date minus the sexy clothes. I just wanted him to see that I don’t always look like crap.
I’m getting my vitals done when I see him walk by. As soon as it clicks as to who I am, I watched his jaw drop. I couldn’t stop myself from saying “Yes” because he was cute, and I knew I looked good. I’m sure this seemed weird to the person taking my vitals.
After the exam part of that day is over, he comes back in the room once I’m dressed. The first think he says to me is “You look amazing.” I was stunned. I knew he thought that by the jaw dropping, but I never expected him to come clean with me. I’m sitting there thinking I can’t believe he just said that. I mean he just saw me naked moments ago. At least he had enough class not to say it before the exam.” I turned away slightly embarrassed. I left that day realizing he actually was infatuated with me.
Four years later, I tried to have him deliver my second baby, but he wasn’t delivering babies anymore, only practicing gynecology. He brought another doctor into his office so they could still offer the service, so I went to him instead.
At my six week checkup with that doctor, I did the same thing. I fixed myself up like I was going on a date minus the sexy clothes. The cute doctor (Dr.Connors), came over to me, and just stared at me not saying anything. They call my name. I get up to go in when he cuts me off. My bad smile is on my face when I look at his office staff saying, “You guys are seeing this, right?” He also had a bad smile on his face. I try to give him a few minutes to say what he needed to say, but they get impatient with me. I tell him I have to go.
Before I go in to see the other doctor, I kept thinking I was supposed to hug him, but I didn’t have a good reason why I should. If I had followed through with hugging him and someone asked me why I hugged him, the only thing that I would’ve said would’ve been “It just felt right”, but it never happened. This is the moment I wish I could change.
A few months later, I tried to make an appointment with him, but they tell me that he’s seriously ill in the hospital with leukemia. I felt the color drain from my face. I knew he wouldn’t want me to see him like that so I had to let it go. He was only thirty-nine. I now know what he was trying to say to me.
(Shorty after this phone call, I heard some lyrics to the song Mambo #5. In the song is the line “To me flirting is just like a sport.” That was a lightbulb moment. It caused me to say “That’s it. That’s what he was doing with me. Flirting for the sport of it.”)
Looking back on that day, I have to ask myself “Did he think he told me about the leukemia?” I half think he had expected me to hug him. If I had known that it would be the last time I saw him or that he had leukemia, I would’ve hugged him. And if people asked me why I hugged him, I would’ve said, “It’s important for people to know how much you appreciate them.”
Many years later, I worked with a nurse that also had him for a doctor. I told her how I convinced myself that his flirting with me was something he did with all his patients. She said, “I had him for a doctor. He never did that with me. I think you were just his type.”
That was a lot to process, but I have a greater admiration for him now. I’m not sure why it was important to him that I know that he thought I was beautiful, but it was. My admiration comes from his ability to keep it professional in spite of his feelings for me. He never made me feel targeted. I like to think he kept it professional because of his love for his wife and son, but it’s possible it’s because he was dying. Having someone there for you in the end is important. It’s also possible he didn’t want me to fall for someone that was dying. I choose to believe that he was a stand up guy because of his love for his wife and son.
A strange but corny fact. After I was done wearing the shirt that I was wearing the day he told me I looked amazing, I saved that shirt as clothes that I don’t mind ruining kind of shirt. Like when you color your hair or clean with bleach. Now every time I color my hair, I smile as I am reminded of the cute doctor that had a crush on me.