Megan is small. Megan is born six weeks early and Megan is small enough to rest in the palm of her mother’s hand. Megan is small enough to ride on her dog Powder’s back like a clinging beetle. Megan is small enough to slide behind the refrigerator to retrieve her lost ring-pop. Megan is small enough to sleep in her parents’ bed, especially when Dad decides to sleep at his office. She’s small enough to order off the ten-and-under menu even though she is eleven now.
Megan watches. Megan watches Dad hide a glass of beer on the pantry shelf next to the dog biscuits. Megan watches the school bus ramble to a stop and she thinks of a future of pink clouds when she’ll drive her own car. Megan watches Mrs. Pierce roll her eyes at Bobby Anderson when he shouts “pussy” at two boys down the hallway. She watches the rain like splashes of thin paint outside of her window and she tries on a sparkly blue dress for prom. She watches her inbox pop with another college rejection email. She watches the world float in a haze; she can’t remember what she drank last night, but it made her throat warm and her mind free.
Megan is free. Megan is free as she rides with the windows down even though it’s five degrees outside. Megan is free as she grills chicken in her tiny apartment and picks out a show on Netflix. Megan is free to go to dinner with Henry from the gym. Henry is tall. Henry has big eyes that linger. Henry has a mole on his right butt-cheek. Megan is free when she sneaks out at 3am on a Wednesday to listen to the crackle of the cars on the street. Megan is free when Henry falls asleep watching TV on the couch; she can finally read in the bedroom alone. Megan is free when Henry asks her to marry him and Megan says no.
Megan is tired. Megan is tired when she lugs little Ben’s soccer duffle bag to the car. Megan is tired when she sits in the lamp lit night writing down her thoughts. Megan is tired when she crawls into bed and Robert’s eyes flutter open. He wraps an arm around her waist and says finally; Megan tells him she is too tired. Megan is tired when there is no more deli meat for little Ben’s lunch. She is tired as she waits in the checkout line at Walmart at a quarter to midnight. She is tired when little Ben points out the way the skin sags on her arms.
Megan is small. Megan is small as she stands in a grassy tent to see Ben walking down the aisle in a dark blue tux. She is small as she lies in her room with the lights turned low at 8pm and she can almost smell the scent of Robert’s cigarettes still lingering somewhere. Megan is small as she packs away the coloring books that she planned to keep for the grandchildren she’ll never have. Ben won’t have kids with Martha, he tells her. Just a dog, maybe. Megan is small as she pulls the shades in the living room and waits for Thanksgiving to pass. She is too small to reach the shelf where the Christmas decorations are stored. Robert used to reach them. Megan is small as she stands in the middle of the snowy yard and breathes in air that feels full of ghosts. Megan is as small as a ghost. Megan is small enough to rest in the palm of her mother’s hand.
Katie Monteleone is a fiction writer, playwright, lyricist and director from Lenox, Massachusetts. She attended Colby College in Waterville, ME, where she double majored in English/Creative Writing and Theatre & Dance. Katie is passionate about all types of creative writing with a particular focus on writing musical theatre. Past works include Lemonade Stand (music and lyrics), Lost With You (book and lyrics), and Waiting for Words (lyrics). Katie is currently writing and directing a new audience-immersive play called How to Start Over that will premiere at Colby College in April 2018. Instagram: @katie_monteleone