Early one morning I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to find a nurse from the state health department. She said she’d been trying to reach me by phone for days. Because I didn’t recognize the number on my cell phone, I never answered her calls.

“Natalie, you had an appointment to see Dr. Morrow last week, but you didn’t show up,” she said.

I told her I wasn’t comfortable going back to see Dr. Morrow.

“How come, sweetie,” she asked.

I went in to have this sore checked out and I asked Dr. Morrow if it could be syphilis. I read the news. I know our town has a syphilis problem. One of my best friends ended up getting it. But when I asked Dr. Morrow if it could be syphilis, he said “Oh, no, honey, only hookers get syphilis.” When he said that, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. I just couldn’t bear to go back to see him.