The Bean

5 min read

I thought of it as punishment, had I been walking the right path I wouldn’t be in this predicament. I questioned God’s use of me and my body. That was only my second mistake in the story.

My first was the shot of Stoli’s vodka before peeing on the stick.

It mocks me with an exclamation point tailing the word “PREGNANT,” as if I’m also excited about the matter. So condescending to believe that every woman wants to be congratulated instead of consoled.

I don’t let the stick see the tears roll down my face. Instead, I quickly toss it into the bucket and remove the trash. There is no need for a momento because there is no way I am keeping it. My life is fine the next few days as long as I have disbelief and denial. I silence my womb with cigarette smoke and sorrow. I can almost wash it completely away in the shower, but the tenderness of my breasts reminds me that my body is not my own. The thought of being a host disgusts me. A parasite, the product of lust and irresponsibility. Even if I wanted to keep it, it would be a bastard.

“There is no way I could,” I tell myself.

My hands disobey me and cradle my belly when I sleep at night. My mind betrays me when I accidentally call it a name. Bean. Third mistake.

Google is the only thing that keeps my mind occupied, I fetishize about getting the bean removed from me. Thoughts of my hormones returning to normal, my jeans being able to button, and my career being secured for the long haul give me enough courage to do it.


Typing the word makes me feel dirty; so much so I dim my laptop as if there is kink or porn on the screen. My browser is incognito so God won’t have proof when it’s time for judgment. Images of the barbaric procedure are repelled from my conscience by a cold heart and made up mind. “God forgives,” I tell myself. “He knows what’s going to happen even before it does.” I pray for a sign to change my mind. It doesn’t come. I understand God not wanting to talk to a murderer tonight.


I plead my case to him although he is silent. I know he is here and it frustrates me. He knows I can’t afford one. He knows I am working on my mental health. He knows I am not ready.

I cry myself to slumber and my hands cradle my belly. The bean comforts me despite the scheduled removal. It’s enough for me to make amends with the bean. I promise that we will take care of each other until it has to leave. The bean is pleased because for the first time it allows me to keep down breakfast. Instinctively I nourish the bean without it asking, and although we cuddle at night I remind the bean to not get too comfortable.

“This is not your home.”


I wonder if I hurt the bean’s feelings. I wonder sometimes if the bean has a soul. The internet tells me my bean is just a “yolk sac.” It tells me that my bean doesn’t have fingernails, toes, or even eyes yet. It offends me although it should be making it easier to depart. My bean is different though. My bean does have a soul.

I convince myself that my bean will simply be recycled to God after it is gone, instead of a hazardous wastebasket filled with all the other beans taken there by the other unready mothers. I ask for forgiveness, but guilt isn’t enough to cancel the appointment. This was surely a mistake.

We have a large breakfast on the morning of. I am somewhat saddened that it is our last. I attempt to ask for one last sign while driving.

Just one.

It doesn’t come.


I choose an all-woman facility for the compassion. Instead, they are cold and impersonal, considering this is the place I’ll leave my biggest secret. I wonder if they will care for my bean after I’ve driven myself down the street from the procedure. Silly.

A woman with a visible belly weeps upon entrance. I hear a nurse tell her that they’ve stopped funding for prenatal care. I judge her swiftly, knowing that you don’t come to a place like this for vitamins for your bean. You come here to get rid of it and ensure that another accident doesn’t happen again in the future. I’m reminded of a morgue I once saw in a thriller, looking around. They casually wash away trails of blood and tears with antiseptic. A sterile holocaust.

The nurse doesn’t ask me if I want to see it; instead, she turns the ultrasound monitor away so my bean can’t ask me to keep it.

“You’re in luck,” she says. “Early enough for the easy way.”


She places the tablet in my sweating palm. She explains it is the first step of the process. Once dissolved in my cheek, the oxygen supply will be cut off for my bean. The second pill will expel the remains from my body and into my toilet. I hesitate at the thought of my bean not even being in a wastebasket with all the other beans. Instead, the reality is much worse, not knowing that was possible.

It’s enough for me.

Not. My. Bean.


It is so loud I can’t make out if it is me, God, or my bean yelling to me.

I oblige; bombarding my way through the recovery room. Mourning women sit pantless, empty, and beanless. I cry for them. I have to get my bean out of here. This is no place for my bean. My hands unintentionally cradle my belly.

We fight through the heavy metal doors. I give us fresh air.

It is enough for me to make amends with the bean, and despite the almost removal, it comforts me.


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Kenia Burke

Born in Newark, NJ in 1993 just after the destruction of rural neighborhoods from the crack epidemic, Kenia Burke (25) was uprooted and moved to the predominantly white neighborhood of Scotch Plains. She writes for every WOC that never fit the offensive template of "the black girl".