Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Summer Breeze

Summary: A New Yorker finds some southern comfort in the form of a freckled stranger with a fondness for fine footwear.
Rating: G

It was a cloudy day in New York City—so cloudy, in fact, that I was didn’t even mind sharing a cab with the brunette who accidentally flagged down the same taxi as me. I was just desperate to be in a dry spot when the rainclouds inevitably burst. It was odd for me—since I had been in the city, I hadn’t met a lot of people, and the chilliness of New Yorkers had somehow penetrated my own veins and tainted my blood.

She was wearing an old-fashioned trench coat and wore her long hair in curls down her back. I didn’t catch a glimpse of her face until she stared at me as I climbed into the backseat next to her.

“Hope you don’t mind sharing,” I said politely.

“Not at all,” she replied, her voice coated in that sweet slowness that is unique to the American South. She turned to the driver to give him the address of her destination.

“That’s only a block away,” I remarked in surprise as the rain started to pour.

Her green eyes shifted up to me incredulously before she extended her leg—on her foot was an incredibly high stiletto, in the brightest red I had ever seen on a shoe.

“Ah,” I replied, still trying to maintain the politeness. “Can’t stand to walk around the block in that deathtrap, huh?”

The expression on her face immediately told me that my politeness was in vain. “I take offense to that,” she informed me, even though her accent made it sound like she was taking a fence. “Of course I can walk around the block in six-inch stilettos. I could walk throughout the entire Saks Fifth Avenue shoe department in six-inch stilettos, and it has its own zip code. Remember that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels. Consider me to be the Ginger Rogers of modern New York City. I just didn’t want to let my babies get wet. I would rather pay money for a cab to go around the block than have to buy a new pair of shoes. Besides, I don't think I could find another pair as marvelous as these.”

“I see,” I replied, feeling a little awkward after her spiel. “Where are you from?”

“South Carolina,” she grinned. “Does my accent give it away?”

“Just a little bit,” I smirked at her. “Why are you up here in the Big Apple?”

“It’s where the wind blew me. I have to say, it was more like a tornado, though, leaving destruction in its wake. I’m still not used to a place where I have to turn on the Weather Channel to see if it will rain. But when you live on a sixth-floor apartment with windows that are painted shut, you have to rely on the television to tell you what to wear.”

“Well…” My voice trailed off as I searched for something to say, but my wardrobe was pretty much the same no matter what: a suit and tie. “Those are some kind of shoes.”

“Thanks. It just seemed like a red high heel kind of day. My Maw-Maw always wore red high heels, so I guess it’s in my blood.”

“Your grandmother?”

“Well, what else is a Maw-Maw?”

“True,” I replied, deeply amused by her spunk and a little enraptured by the freckles on her face. “And what are you doing here?”

“An internship at a publishing house.” She sighed and started thumbing through her purse. “I’m ready for Christmas, to be honest. I am so tired of eating boneless, skinless chicken and having to order a Coke because y’all don’t have sweet tea. Oh, and when I say a Coke, I really mean a Sprite, but nobody bothers to ask me to clarify…”

“I’m sorry we haven’t treated you nicely.”

“Oh, no, New York has been wonderful,” she drawled. “It’s taken some getting used to. My neighbors don’t know my name, and people think I’m weird when I talk to them in the line at the grocery store. But I like it here. I just long for home. If you forget where you came from, then you forget where you’re going. And it’s never good to forget where you’re going. Speaking of…”

I hadn’t noticed that the taxi had stopped until she nodded toward the door. While she handed the driver her measly little fare, I stepped out into the puddle of rainwater mixed with God knows what and held the door open for her. She started to climb out, but glanced down at the puddle and thought better of it.

“Can you pull up, where there’s not a puddle?” she asked the driver.

“Sorry, lady, but I can’t,” he answered, seemingly irritated by her innocent (and perfectly reasonable) question. “The guy in front of me won’t pull up.”

“Well, bless his little heart,” she huffed, her words making no sense to me since she was clearly pissed off. And then I watched in amazement as she lifted her legs, pulled her shoes off, and slipped them inside her coat before stepping out barefoot into the puddle.

“That’s probably a bad idea,” I cautioned.

She just blinked up at me. “Trust me, I’ve stepped on worse. If you can ruin your very pretty Italian leather shoes, I can ruin my unpolished feet. Fred and Ginger, remember? Thanks for letting me share. You technically hailed the cab first.”

I nodded, ready to get out of the rain, but also not wanting to see those freckles go. “Hey, do you want to get dinner with me tonight?”

The words were out of my mouth before I could stop them, but somehow, I didn’t regret them. This girl—no, this lady—was like a summer breeze. I couldn’t resist basking in it, no matter how out of character it was for me now.
She blinked at me again before nodding. “Okay. There’s this deli down the road from here. I’ll meet you there at seven?”

“Oh, I can pick you up—“

“In what? A taxi?” She snorted softly. “No, darlin’, I’m perfectly capable of meeting you there. Besides, I’ll be working until seven anyway.”

“Oh, alright…sounds good.”

“Thanks, “ she said, somehow managing to stretch the word into two syllables. She winked at me before turning and walking away.

And as I watched her disappear from view—with the knowledge that I would see her again that night—I suddenly felt a little less alone in the world.

That was six months ago.

Now loneliness is a foreign feeling to me, because every day, I see a new pair of heels sitting by the door of our apartment. And every day, I hear the padding of her bare feet as they carry her to me so I can kiss every freckle on that beautiful face.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I forgot to add that the views and opinions reflected by my characters do not necessarily reflect my own views and opinions.

I tend to agree with my characters on a lot, and I tend to disagree with my characters on a lot.

For instance, I will soon be posting a story about a serial killer. I do not agree with this character on anything.

I can't control what my characters do or say. They just tell me their stories, and I write them down.

None of my stories are meant to be sermons, propaganda, or anything of the sort.

When I have more time, I will post this on my blog as a permanent fixture of my layout.


Peace, love, and prose,



Summary: An eighteen-year-old girl dies and finds out that the afterlife is not at all what she has heard.
Rating: PG for thematic elements involving death and spirituality

When I was eighteen, I died.

I don't remember how I died. You never do.

One day, I just woke up in an unfamiliar room. It had white walls, white floors, a white twin bed with an old white lace duvet, and no windows. The flourescent lights were bright and nearly blinding when  they reflected off all the white.

The only speck of color was the flaming red hair of the woman sitting at the foot of my bed, reading a book.

I didn't know where I was. I didn't know who she was. I just knew that she looked somewhat familiar, and I felt a little lightheaded.

"Who are you?" I asked, pulling my knees up to my chest under the duvet.

She put the book down, pulled her glasses off, and smiled warmly. She really was quite beautiful, with stunning blue eyes that looked heartbreakingly familiar. "I'm Kay," she said simply.

I blinked at her. "Kay who?"

"Kay Harrison."

"That was my boyfriend's mom's name before she died. In fact, you look like my boyfriend."
"I should look like Miles. I'm his mother."

I let this information sink in. "But you're dead."

"Yes, that's what they told me thirteen years ago."

"So I'm dead?"

"It appears you are."

It was the strangest thing anyone had ever told me. But I had always handled crises well, so I shrugged. "Peter Pan always said dying would be an awfully big adventure. I can't remember it. I want a refund."

"J.M Barrie didn't know anything about death. Death is the second most overrated experience in life."

"What's the first?"

"2001: A Space Odyssey. You're too young to remember that one."

"I see."

She suddenly grew much more somber. "You died in a car accident."

Instantly I felt the blood drain from my face...or whatever, since apparently when you're dead, your heart doesn't beat. "Was Milo with me?"

"No, darling, you were on your way home from my—Miles’—house.  Drunk driver ran a red light and squashed your little VW Bug."

"Ah. I bet Dad is pissed. I begged him for months for that car."

"I wouldn't know. I can't see your dad. However, I'm sure he is much more upset over losing you than that car."

"True. Hey, Kay?"

"Yes, love?"

"I feel like I'm having a completely inappropriate reaction to finding out I'm dead. Shouldn't I be flailing and hyperventilating and screaming about how Kurt Cobain is nowhere to be found in the afterlife? I mean, I’ve always looked forward to meeting him on the day I died."

"No. I've never seen anyone do that."

"Oh. Some other musician? Hendrix, perhaps?"

"No. We've had a few Nirvana fans up here. And some Hendrix fans."

"It may not be such a bad place, then. So if we don't freak out about dying, then I guess we must grow stronger when we die."

"Not exactly. We're still weak, insignificant humans."

I paused, trying to figure this one out. "I feel like I'm missing something. Is this Heaven or Hell? Because whichever it is, I feel perfectly impassive toward it."

"That's normal. And it's neither. You're in Purgatory."

"Wait. Purgatory? I'm not good enough to get into Heaven yet? What did I do in my life that made me a sinner?"

"Nothing really bad. Purgatory is not at all what you've heard, baby. You can't get into Heaven yet because you left your Heaven on Earth."

Again, I stared at her. "What?"

A fond smile slipped onto her face. "My son. He's the only Heaven you'll ever be totally happy with. Same for me. So, you and I are waiting for him to join us."

My mouth suddenly felt dry. "I have to wait until Milo dies before I can make it to Heaven?"

"Yes, darling."

"Well, that will take an awfully long time."

"Why do you say that?"

Milo will never die. He's like Superman."

She giggled, nodding. "So I've noticed."

"Wait, you said you can't see my dad? Can you see Milo?"

"Yes, and I could see you, because you were such a big part of Miles’ heart. You are his Heaven, too. But I can't see anyone else. When you're in Purgatory, you can only focus on your Heaven."

"Why isn't your husband your Heaven?"

"A person's life changes when she has a baby, no matter how long she is in her baby's life."

"I see. So I'll never care about Nirvana again?"

"No, you will. You just won't feel a passion for them again. That's the worst thing about Purgatory. You feel impassive about everything, except for your Heaven. You have a stack of Nirvana CDs in the corner over there."

I looked over at the corner she indicated, and sure enough, there was a pile of CDs, along with a CD player. I gave her a smile, and she leaned in to kiss my forehead. Just like Milo used to do.

"Let me know when you're ready to see Miles," she told me. "We can watch every minute of his life in Filmroom 96."

"Wait, I want to see him now."

"Are you sure? He's very upset. He just found out the love of his life has died."

The thought of him being upset made me feel physically sick--so sick, in fact, that I leaned over the side of the bed and threw up into a basin that had somehow appeared there. Kay held my hair back and rubbed my shoulders while I vomited, obviously taking glee in the fact that she was finally able to mother someone after she had been taken from her baby after only five years with him. This observation made me realize that I would never marry Milo or have children with him, which upset me further.

Minutes later, I finally quit heaving. "I'm sorry about that," she murmured, handing me a wet cloth to wipe my face with. "I forgot to mention that you're not only emotional about your Heaven, but you're extremely emotional. Almost inappropriately emotional."

"Numbness doesn't feel good," I remarked.

"Yes, and no. I miss having appropriate emotions about everything, but having heartbreak over Miles’ dad or something is certainly not missed."

"True. At least I don't have to worry about passing AP Biology anymore."

"True. I noticed you were failing that class."

"I'll bet that my teacher is feeling really guilty about giving me those bad grades right now."

"Yes, probably."

"I want to see Milo."

"Are you sure?" she asked me skeptically. "It will break your heart."

"I'm sure. I miss seeing his face."

"If you insist."

Kay took my hand and pulled me out of bed, leading me out of the room. We walked down an utterly unremarkable hallway, filled with other people who looked just as bored as we were. Kay finally stopped at a door labeled Filmroom 96 and pushed it open.

I stepped in, fascinated. A huge television screen covered the wall.  On the television screen was the love of my life. Milo was crouched in the floor of a hospital, sobbing into his hands.

And suddenly, a rush of emotions hit me like a wrecking ball.

I felt distraught because he was hurting so badly.

I felt euphoric because he loved me so much.

I felt like I was being confined inside my skin.

I felt like I was floating throughout freedom.

I felt nothing but confusion and beauty and horror and nausea and peace and love and hate and confusion.

Kay held my hair back as I threw up again.

"I told you," she said as she led me outside when my stomach was calm. "It's overwhelming."

"I want to go back to my room."

"I thought so."

I spent the rest of the night in my room, listening to the Nirvana CDs. They completely underwhelmed me. They still sounded nice, but I just didn't really care about them. Even my favorite track "Lithium" left me feeling indifferent toward my favorite band.

I fell into a deep sleep.

The next day, I felt an almost magnetic pull toward Filmroom 96. Kay was already there, watching Milo. I noticed that she cried, but she wasn't vomiting or hyperventilating. "You calm down a little bit as time goes on," she explained.

I still couldn't handle it.

One day later, I went back to Filmroom 96 and watched my funeral. The only person I could see in the church was Milo. I could hear the music they played--hymns--and I saw my dead body in the casket. But I couldn't hear my eulogy or the minister's sermon. I just saw Milo cry.

I couldn't go in for a few days after that.

After weeks, I finally got to the point where I could watch Milo for thirty minutes a day before I completely lost it. It was easiest to watch him sleep and sit in class. Watching him sit alone and think about me was impossible.

Kay was glued to the screen. She only left it to check on me and to cry and sleep after she cried.

Finally, though, Milo grew stronger. He graduated high school. He was accepted to his dream school--Yale. Kay and I both had terrifyingly vibrant episodes over this--while we were so happy that his dreams were coming true, we were devastated that we hadn't been there to see it in real life.

After a year, Milo grew happier.

And I grew stronger, too. My emotions toward him had not waned, but I was able to watch him for hours on end.

I watched as he endured his first round of midterms in college.

I watched as he joined an honors society.

I watched as he went home to his father and stepmother for the summer, even though I couldn't see his father and stepmother.

I watched as he saw my parents over the summer. I couldn't see them, but he called them "Mr. and Mrs. Owens" and sincerely said he missed Carrie, so I assumed they were my parents.

I watched as he went back to Yale.

And I watched as he met Delilah.

I couldn't see her, but he seemed to really like her. He was always nervous before they went out on dates--"He used to do that when he first started dating you," Kay informed me.

I was infuriated. This Delilah had taken my love.

I was gleeful. Milo was happy.

I was depressed. I would never be with Milo, until he died.

And I was vomiting again.

I slept for a very long time after that.

I watched as Milo broke up with Delilah three months later.

I didn't sleep for a long time after that, because I was so happy.

Milo didn't seem to be the least bit upset by the breakup, so that was yet another source of ecstasy.

One night I told Kay, "I'm really tired of these bouts of emotions, but I'm also not tired of them."

She said, "I know. We all feel that way."

"Can't I do anything about it?"

"You can quit watching Miles and just sleep all the time."

"That feels like suicide, though."

"I know. Miles is the only source of life and humanity you and I have left."

"It's so sick. No emotion is awful, but too much emotion is horrible."

"Welcome to Purgatory."

"You said that when I arrived here, and once was enough. Is there a god, Kay?"

"What do you think?"

"I don't know. I never really bought into the 'this happened by random chance' argument."

"Neither did I."

"Purgatory seems to be too well-designed. The Spanish Inquisition has nothing on this torture device. It's torture because it's not torture."

A small smile flitted across her face. "You sound like a Purgatory veteran.  You know it well."

"Do you think there's a god?"

"I imagine so. I was taught in Sunday School that God punishes His children, so that would explain this place. But I was also taught that God loves His children, so that would also explain this place. I mean, we have so little, but Filmroom 96 also gives us so much."

"Yes. I think you're right."

I watched as Milo graduated from Yale with a degree in Chemistry.

I watched as Milo met Eva.

I couldn't see Eva, not even on their wedding day.

That day brought the most pain I had ever felt before. I writhed in bed for days. But I also felt happy, because Milo seemed to be happy.

"Why am I here?" I asked Kay.

"Because your Heaven hasn't arrived--"

"No, I know that. But he's found a new Heaven. He can't come up here and join me."

"I wouldn't be so sure of that."


"Can we cool it with the Nirvana?"


"You've been listening to the same Nirvana music for years. Can't we listen to Jimi Hendrix?"

"You're the Hendrix fan?"


"I'm heartbroken and distraught and you're worried about my music?"


"I should punch you."

"But you're not going to."

"No," I mused. "I'm not. Why am I not?"

"Because you feel numb. This does not pertain to Miles, so you really don't care. The Nirvana is not really bothering me, but I still like Hendrix well enough."

"Let me listen to 'Lithium' one more time."

"Okay. I'll go get my CDs."

We listened to Jimi Hendrix for the next few years, especially Kay’s favorite song, "If 6 Were 9."

I watched as Milo's first child was born--a daughter he named Carrie.

Oddly enough, I could see this Carrie.

"Why can I see her?" I asked Kay.

"She's a huge part of his heart. She's his Heaven."

"Wait, so Eva is not?"

"No. That's why I could see you."

"He named his daughter after me. Am I still his Heaven?"

"All signs point to yes."

That day, I discovered that it's possible to feel so much joy that it hurts. It hurts to the point of having a migraine that makes something in your brain fire off into a seizure.

A few days later, I woke up in my bed, under the white lace duvet. Kay was sitting on the foot of my bed, and looked quite relieved to see me wake up.

"Thank God," she sighed, pulling me into a hug. "We were worried."

"Happiness is a warm gun," I replied dryly.

"Yes, it is."

"Is that a Hendrix song?"


"How is little Carrie?"

"She's well. She's so beautiful."

I sighed. "I know." I paused and listened to the now-familiar Jimi Hendrix tune "Manic Depression." "This sucks."


"I hate this."


"But I love it."

"We've been over this."

"How much longer do I have to endure this?"

"Well, Miles is very young. I would guess that we have decades. And then Miles will have to wait until little Carrie dies...unless he sends us away before then. I sent my own father away because Purgatory is so wonderfully awful. He's in Heaven now, waiting for me. My conscience is much clearer now that I know he's happy, but I'm still not happy."

"Ah." I sighed. "A lifetime is too long."

"Au contraire. Our lifetimes were too short."

"But our lifetimes here are too long."

"I'll agree with that."

"I'm tired of Jimi Hendrix."


"Yes. Sort of. As tired of him as I can be in Purgatory. Do you think we could find some Mozart?"

"I'm sure."

"Good. I could handle some Mozart right now."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Way We Were

Summary: A teenage couple learns that while one mistake can ruin your childhood, a few mistakes can ruin your life.
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including teen pregnancy and miscarriage

The thin slit between the cheap Target curtains I hung five months ago allows a bit of sunshine to bleed into the dark room, casting light on Abigail’s colorless face. I can see dust particles drifting in the air in front of her, aimlessly dancing in the sunlight, simultaneously begging for attention and hoping to pass unnoticed. But Abigail doesn’t seem to notice anything. Her beautiful blue eyes stare at the window—not the line of light, but instead, the whole shaded window. Still, her eyes are unfocused. She sees nothing. She’s lost.

“Abigail, let me open the curtains,” I say, but she immediately starts shaking her head. Nowadays, the only sign of life in that swollen body is when she’s protesting my attempts to make her healthier.

“No, Jackson,” she whispers. “I don’t want them to be open.”

“You can’t just sit here in the dark—“

“I want to.”

I sigh and lean back in my chair, staring at my hands. In the past six months, they seem to have lost their color, too. That’s probably due to the contrast with the shine of my silver-colored Wal-Mart wedding ring. It’s not a pretty color, or even a pretty shape. I’m beginning to wonder if my hands were even designed for a wedding band.

If this was five months ago, Abigail would be throwing the curtains open. She would be dancing with the dust. She would be catapulting herself into my lap and kissing the frown off my face. I would be wrapping my arms around her, tickling her, laughing with her…

But that is the way we were. Not the way we are.

I look up at the curtains again. Teal, with a floral print that I hate but she loves. I compromised on the window dressing: if she was able to pick the curtains out, then I was able to pick the curtain rod out. It was a wonderful compromise. She was able to have her feminine patterns, and I was able to have a much manlier, more rigid fixture to hold them up. I remember how she laughed as I hung them. I’ve never been especially handy around the house—in fact, the rod is crooked and always looks a little loose—but Abigail gave me a few kisses anyway.

“Abigail, you need to eat,” I say, feeling a bit like a broken record. We go through this routine every day.

“I’m not hungry.”

“You’re starving yourself.”

“Don’t you want a skinnier wife?”

The air escapes through my teeth with a hiss. “Don’t even start that. I want a healthy wife.”

“Then I’m sorry you have a broken one.”

“Abigail, stop it. I’m going to make you some macaroni and cheese. You love that.”

“Don’t even bother, Jackson.” Her tone is flat…emotionless…dead. “I won’t eat it.”

“You’re acting like a child.”

As soon as the words escape my lips, I regret them. She gasps, and a little part of my brain observes that this is the deepest breath she has taken since the sobs stopped twenty-nine days ago.
But she regains her very sickly composure and swallows the air down. “That was a low blow, Jackson.”

“I didn’t mean it—“

“No, I think you did.”

I sigh, deciding to change the subject. I’ll never convince her otherwise, anyway. “The school called.”


“They’ve given you so much time off, with the pregnancy and now this. If you want to graduate on time, you’re going to have to go back. Principal Butler is getting really impatient with you.”

“Maybe I don’t want to graduate.”

“Abigail. You’re talking like a crazy person. You know, you now have a chance at med school. Have you thought of that?”

And then the most incredible thing happens—she sniffles.

And a teardrop falls from the corner of her eye.

She hasn’t cried since The Great Cry that took place twenty-nine days ago. Her lack of tears certainly was strange—she’s always been a crier, whether the source is sadness or anger or extreme happiness. But this month, she has emotionally shut down, staring off into space, seeing and saying nothing. I’m so relieved to see that one single tear glisten in the sliver of sunlight that I inch closer to her on the bed.

“Baby.” My tongue betrays me again, calling her entirely the wrong name.

A strange squeaking sound comes from her throat. “That’s exactly what this is about,” she agrees tearfully. “My baby. My baby. You know, I’ll never see my baby graduate? I’ll never get to hear my baby talk about how he wants to be a doctor? I’ll never even get to put a Band-Aid on his knee, Jackson. Why the hell should I fantasize about taking care of other children when my body couldn’t even take care of my own child?”

“Could you please quit saying that it was your baby?” I reply, not even bothering to hide my anger and irritation. “It was our baby.”

“The fact that you’re referring to Connor as an ‘it’ tells me that you never thought of him as yours,” she whispers, her face revealing nothing but nausea. “You never wanted him, Jackson. I forced him on you.”

“You know that I never wanted an abortion,” I remind her, and it’s the honest-to-God truth. “I wanted to keep it. I wanted to marry you and make you happy. I wanted to make our little family happy.”

“Until the gravity of the situation hit us,” she corrects. “It was exciting at first. Scary, but exciting. We got to live together, and get married, and have a cute little wedding, and we could decorate our house and get ready for our cute little baby…”

She suddenly chokes. “Was he cute, Jackson? Was he beautiful? Did he look like you?”

The images flash through my sixteen-year-old mind. It’s something that no sixteen-year-old should see…that tiny little person I had a glimpse of while I was by my wife’s side in the delivery room…the baby who just didn't make it...
“Don’t worry about it,” I whisper.

“I couldn’t even stand to look at him.” Her breathing picks up. “I was his mother, and I couldn’t even look at him. What kind of person am I? You didn’t even want him, and you have the memories with him!”

“They’re not memories,” I spit bitterly. “That word implies that seeing him like that was pleasant. It was the most horrifying moment of life, second only to seeing that car hit you.”

“Were you really concerned for me?” she asks, and the surprise in her eyes is the most animation I’ve seen in a long time.

I nod firmly. “I think I died a little inside. It was like it was in slow-motion—the frantic swerving of the driver, the blaring of the horn, the look of horror on your face, and seeing it crash into you, straight into your stomach…” I inhale sharply, pulling my fist to my mouth to bite it. The pain feels good. I still feel human. My guard has suddenly been let down. I can’t stop the words from leaving my mouth. Oddly enough, this is the most human I have felt in a very long time. I like the pain that my teeth leave on my skin. “I thought I lost you, and I died a little.”

“You’re about to lose me again, you know,” she replies, the coldness of her tone making my blood turn to ice in my veins. “As soon as I figure things out, I’m gone.”

“You’re leaving me?”

“Don’t be surprised, Jackson,” she snorts, sounding more like the hilarious, sarcastic Abby I used to know and love. “Our marriage fell apart as soon as my belly started to show and you lost your spot on the baseball team.”

She’s spot-on about the timeline—but not about the reasons behind our failure of a relationship. “Don’t blame it all on me,” I shoot back. “Yeah, I was devastated about having to quit baseball to get a job to support you. I gave up my chances at a scholarship. And yeah, I hated the fact that your body was changing. But you had such high expectations for me. How could you expect a sixteen-year-old kid to be excited about becoming a father? Like you said, it was cool at first. We could move in together and you took my last name and we could have sex whenever we wanted…but then everything suddenly became much too real. But I always loved you, Abigail. And Connor. I loved Connor. Connor just came at a very inconvenient time in our life.”

She mulls this over for a second. I can tell by that familiar little crease between her eyebrows that she’s turning it over in her brain, examining every word and every part of my tone. A few months ago, I would have kissed that worry line. I would have sang Bob Marley and she would have laughed.

But that is the way we were, not the way we are now.

Finally, she speaks. “I know it sounds crazy, but I think I would have been a good mommy.”

“I know you would have been,” I confirm, and for the first time in what feels like ages, I touch my wife’s hand. “When that car hit you, you instantly tried to shield your belly. I think that says it all.”

“But I failed.” She swallows hard, like she’s fighting a gush of bile. “I couldn’t protect him.”

“You tried. You fought for a long time, Abby. They released you from the hospital to bedrest at home because they thought that Connor had a real chance of making it. But sometimes these things happen, Abby. You did a good job of shielding him.”

“I felt him kicking just before the accident happened,” she says, ignoring the truth that I’ve tried to convince her of many times. “You know that babies pick up on changes in their mother’s bodies? He must have sensed my heart rate increasing, or something…he started kicking like crazy as soon as I realized that car was coming.”

“And that’s why you’re the lucky one. Because you felt him. I’ve never even touched him. You have, in a way.”

“And then one day, I couldn’t feel him move at all…I could only feel the blood…”

Her breath catches, she squeaks, and then she sighs and throws the covers off of her body before moving to leave the bed. I expect her to go to the bathroom—the only place she sees outside of the bedroom of our shabby little apartment—but instead she walks to the dresser and starts to rummage in the top drawer. Finally, she pulls out the little box.

“Abigail, don’t,” I beg, but she shakes her head.

“It’s over, Jackson. Look, we made some mistakes. We’re just kids. You know that one mistake can ruin your childhood, right? But Jesus, we didn’t even stop at one mistake. We kept going. First we got pregnant. And then we decided to completely go against our parents’ wishes and get married. And then I was hit by a car, and I lost our baby, and I slipped into a practically catatonic state and you fell out of love with me. I get it, okay? One mistake can ruin your childhood. Our chain of mistakes ruined our lives.”

I whisper, “Our biggest mistake was allowing ourselves to fall out of love with each other.”

“We both could have done more. And we both could have done less. Screaming at each other in the middle of the street was so unnecessary. And it was…fatal.”

Something strange happens when the wind is knocked out of you. You can feel and hear your heart race. You can sense that all of your panic synapses are firing off—your organs are asking, Where is the oxygen? Your mind becomes very clear. You’re capable of processing everything that is happening in your body. I always picture my mind looking like a room, and when my breath has literally been taken from me, I am able to observe every nook and cranny of my mind. Past events flash before my eyes, but for one eternal moment, I’m trapped. Time is frozen. I am frozen. My mind and my inactive lungs are the only things that exist. It hurts. God, it hurts. And my mind is nothing but pain—pain painted in such excruciatingly tedious detail that even the masters couldn’t portray it on a canvas.

But now it’s different. Because the pain is mixed with something else.


“I’m sorry, Jackson,” she whispers, and I’m aware of the box opening. I see her remove her rings from her left hand, and I hear it snap closed.

And then I start fighting. My diaphragm tries to act, moving in short, pulsating motions. Slowly but surely, I make progress, and my body relaxes as the sweet air invades my cells.

“I’m sorry, too,” I reply, still shaken. “I started that argument.”

“No. I’m just as guilty. I shouldn’t blame you so much. And to think that we were voted Most Likely to Stay in Love. Ha.” That last syllable is nothing but acerbic.

“We could just blame it on the student body, you know,” I reply, weakly trying to make a joke.

“They jinxed us.”

“No. It was our fault.”

I sigh. “Abby, I miss us.”

“‘Us’ no longer exists, Jack. There’s Abigail, and there’s Jackson. Two separate entities. It’s been that way for a long time now.”

“But I do love you.”

“I loved you too, Jack.”

And that’s enough for me. I see where I stand in her eyes. And now my guard is completely down.

“I love Connor, too, Abby. I love him so much.”

And finally, the sight I’ve been longing to see for so long approaches. A faint trace of a smile on her face. Fondness flitters across her face. She looks soft—not so sick, not so vulnerable, not so grief-stricken. She’s soft, and loving, and the girl that I fell in love with.

When she speaks, her words are filled with awestruck wonder.

“You said 'him.'”


“For the first time, you just called our baby 'him,' not 'it'...out loud.”

“And you just called him 'our' baby.”

She stands still as she lets this sink in, and then she just gives me a simple nod. I watch, astonished, as she walks to the window and yanks the curtains open, allowing the sunlight to flood in.

But we don’t speak. There is enough noise in the room as the curtains overpower the rod, and the curtain rod falls from its rightful place above the window.


Hey, y'all!

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Sarah Meadows.  I am an eighteen-year-old oppressed college freshman in South Carolina.  And I'm a little obsessed with writing. What started out as a third grade class project turned into a hobby, and that hobby turned into a passion. Writing is a huge part of who I am--in fact, it helps me discover who I am every day.

I am writing my first huge hot mess novel. Writer's block is running rampant. Usually my go-to cure for writer's block is to write something that has nothing to do with my novel. It gives me a break from my extremely difficult protagonist, but still sort of "flexes my muscles." On this blog, I will be publishing these little compositions. I will not post terribly often, because I simply don't have the time to sort through/edit/post on a regular basis. But it will be a priority.

Despite the blonde hair and sundresses I don, I actually have a bit of a dark side. You will see this in my stories. They will be random. They will be bizarre. They will be off-color. They might even be a little scary. I will post a warning at the top of each post detailing the content, if I feel a warning is warranted. To give you a little dose of Meadowsian writing (wow, I love the sound of that), the first story I am posting is going to have a warning. This post will be upfront with you: this is the kind of fiction you will be reading on this blog. Get used to it. *smiles innocently*

But not every story will be so "dark." I also will type a very short summary at the top of each post.

Oh, and you are definitely encouraged to leave reviews/comments/questions/concerns/whatever! If nothing else, let me know what you had for lunch today! I love to chat and interact.

Enjoy! Or don't enjoy. Just let me know which path you choose.

Peace, love, and prose,