The medical gowns were brutally itchy.

As I slipped one on, I clenched my teeth and internally groaned at the daily irritation.

Grabbing my thick blanket from the bed, I wrapped it around my shoulders and grudgingly made my way over to the door. Before exiting, I turned around and glanced at the other side of the room. My roommate still lay, half-asleep on her mattress, burrowed in a cave of blankets.

"Madison. The nurses already came around." She let out a grunt and pulled a hand out from under her huddle to wave me away. With a shrug and a tweak of my lips, I dragged my slipper-clad feet out of the room and left her to suffer the consequence.

I began the trek to the nurse's office for morning examination. 

At the end of the hall, a slew of girls were waiting miserably. Some were supported by the walls behind them, others, the ground underneath them. On many, layers of shirts could be seen poking out underneath their baggy hoodies. Like me, most had a blanket wrapped tightly around their shoulders.

But, for all, the expressions mirrored those of a prisoner: desolate and forlorn. 

I joined the bunch, pressing my back against the open wall and sliding down until I reached the floor. My bones ached as they collided with the wooden planks. 

For a while, rounds of girls went in and out of the office. When they came out, their expressions hadn't shifted. Six-thirty a.m. examination was not very fond of on the ward. On occasion someone would step out with tears running down their cheeks. When this happened, the common assumption was that they hadn't gotten away with whatever they were hiding. 

Finally, Nurse Jackie stepped out and eyeballed me. "Adelyn, it's your turn." She said enthusiastically. Obviously she wasn't on coffee restriction like the rest of us. I got up off the floor, stretched out my tense muscles, and stepped into her office. 

I promptly looked around, but nothing had changed from the day before. The scale stood tall, glaring down at me. On either side, the room was nearly bare, except for a single medical table and a few locked cabinets. 

"You ought to know the drill by now." She said, breaking the momentary silence. I nodded, took a few steps forward, and turned around, noticing that the door had already been shut. Taking one more step backwards, I stepped onto the large, metal plate. I heard Jackie tamper with a few knobs before she let out a deep sigh and gave me permission to step-off. 

I released a heavy breath of air, unaware that I had been holding it in. Turning to look at her, I saw her recording my weight onto her chunky notepad. 

"What's it today?" I asked with a smidgen of hope. Jackie looked up from her notes, a humored smirk plastered across her face. She shook her head lightly before putting the notepad face-down on the medical table. But before it disappeared from sight, I caught a few words written in thick, black font.

"You already know the answer to that, dear." She replied.

And that, I did. The answer was always the same. 

"It was worth a try." I muttered to myself before directing my eyes towards the nurse once again. She let out a brief chuckle before she stepped closer and leaned down, grabbing the bottom of my medical gown before lifting it above my torso. Noting the usual tense atmosphere, she hastily inspected my legs and abdomen for anything out of the ordinary. 

When she found nothing, she let my gown drop back down to my knees.

Then she delicately grabbed my arms, one at a time, taking in their appearances as well. Apparently nothing seemed unusual as she recorded her observations, or lack-thereof. I caught a glimpse of the words on the notepad again, the text mocking me. 

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