I said I’m never getting married because I thought it was true. I formed my own rifts in the relationships I had, even when everything was fine. I turned minor fights into explosions, letting the ashes of my mood hover in the air between us for weeks, just to save me from unity, becoming one small mass of ourselves.
I took myself in for a check up again. I was jealous of my car, the color of Moonstone, for never needing anything. I splurged on a nice set of fingernail clippers. I didn't understand how to live by myself, what I should do with my time. I cleaned my apartment like I didn't live there, like it belonged to another girl. I didn't know I was young. I didn't think I was old, but perhaps un-aging, like a lobster, ambling. I refused to turn my heat on. I hit a deer and her bones drove through my headlights. I killed her.
GUNS AND COUNTRY
2015 Best of the Net Nonfiction Winner
I know that I will not get shot if I go for a run around the lake. I might, but I probably won’t. I also know that a sinkhole could open up in my living room as I type this. It probably won’t, but it could. Maybe a tumor is slowly blooming in my throat. Maybe one of my students is planning on killing me. Maybe I’ll comfortably live to my average life expectancy and die in my garden. Maybe nothing will ever happen to me.
LETTER TO MCSWEENEY'S
Further proof of how I am robbing my child of happiness is evidenced in the fact I’ve never let her pay for us to stand in line for an hour at the mall to sob on the lap of the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Lastly, she has not seen Frozen. I have never told this to anyone, including her pediatrician.
SAYING IT (WHERE WE ARE)
Our summer drifts along like river water, the two of us in the car so much that roads become places. We are always going. To the Cleveland Clinic, to Missouri to finish packing, to see people before we leave for Korea, to a colorless maze of offices so we can work legally in Korea, CVS for flu shots, the post office, a bar. With Todd’s family in southern Ohio and mine in the north, passive-aggressive wars flare up concerning where we should spend our time. Guilt drives us up and down the interstates, and I listen to myself age.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR AT MY UNIVERSITY WHO WROTE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR SAYING "I DON'T THINK THAT A SINGLE WOMAN HAS BEEN ASSAULTED ON THIS CAMPUS IN MY 33 YEARS HERE."
Come with me on a horrifying journey through our country’s recent history of handling rape. I will surprise no one, except you, apparently, when I quote a Justice Department report released at the end of 2014 that says only about 20 percent of campus sexual assault victims seek out the police. One in five said they fear reprisal.
ALL YOU REALLY NEED IS A LIGHT JACKET
These white trees. My city frozen, powerless, I position myself by the kitchen window watching the limbs in their clear shield of ice crash to the street, pray they don’t land on my car. This is my reality TV. Last night I lay awake listening to the rain, hard with ice, clicking uneven rhythms on the roof like someone typing at a keyboard. I woke up this morning just in time for my electricity to go off.
THE WEARY FEMINIST WATCHES MORNING TV
And when I say discuss, I mean they show the headline and make a few silly comments. This is the one I saw:
“Moms, Let Dad Be Dad!”
Cue instantaneous, frothing rage.
While I slept on the bathroom floor, yet another storm was forming. This time in the west, not me, but which is worse? We moved to Oklahoma last August. I was pregnant by October. Both states, that of Oklahoma and Being Pregnant, were new to me, ideas I tried to make sense of but always felt like I was squinting through a window during a deep rain.
UNDERNEATH THE HEAT LAMP
“It came through the women,” she said, her voice low, and not because she was hiding something. It was something else, something I couldn’t at once detect, and then, I remembered: pride. That was how my mother sounded when she was proud.
Hee Sun, a student who chose to go by her Korean name instead of picking an English one, thrust her project into my hands. “Don’t read it until I’m at my home!” she shrieked, and ran out the door.
Our last shot was the vacuum. “This is going to hurt,” my doctor said quietly when he put it in. In a room full of earnest people, two in the morning, I felt love for him in the instant that we stared at each other.
I HOPE MY FAMILY'S FARM DOESN'T BECOME A GOLF COURSE
My parents successfully churned out five kids on a 275-acre farm in Northeast Ohio that has been in my mother's family for five generations. She started her own niche market, selling lambs for Greek Easter, which she continues today. She doesn't have a website or a cell phone.
TRY TO HAVE A GOOD TIME
My love for my daughter is tragic, breathless, but I stumble through motherhood, baffled by the confidence of other parents, stunned by the advice of the childless. Just give it some time. Have you tried applesauce? Consider all your options. Concentrate on yourself. None of it made sense to me until I read an interview with a new mother where she said, “I wish someone had told me that when you become a mother, you mourn your past self.”
I tiptoe around the idea of Mae using her frog-shaped training toilet, which languishes in our bathroom, gathering dust. It stares at me, disappointed, through the doorway as I load the dishwasher.
Winner of the 2019 Fall Prose Contest
It’s about families and their ways of understanding, and when that is said, you probably think you know what it will be like – something heartwarming and comfortable. And it is that.
But it’s also spiky, unexpected, and unflinching, a meticulous unwrapping of the layers of a long relationship, about things we take for granted, things we might overlook. Meg’s subject is someone who can’t say what he feels in words, but as a writer, she must use words, which are her gift and her best tools, something she does tenderly and brilliantly, in spare, meticulous prose, with insight and humor.