Or Something Like That by Ann K. Ryles

 

 

Or Something Like That

by Ann K. Ryles

 

    

               

 

“I’ll see you today,” Susan said to her baby in the shower, rubbing lather over her still flat belly.    She hadn’t told anyone she talked to the baby.  Not Marshall.  It was a secret.  Between her and the baby.  Shhhhhhh, baby, don’t tell on Mommy.  Especially not to Daddy, he already thinks I’m a wack job.   

Susan smiled as she toweled herself dry, recalling how she’d announced her pregnancy yesterday to a select group of her closest female friends.  She’d sent an e-mail including a one-word p.s.:  “Impregnado.”  Meredith replied instantly:  “Suggested Names:  Roe (for a girl) and Wade (for a boy).”  Susan had laughed and forwarded Meredith’s reply to a few friends among the select group, the ones who would get it.  We’re just kidding, baby.  Don’t take it personally.  It’s only a joke.   Don’t worry.  You’re a keeper.  

A few hours after she’d talked to her baby in the shower, Susan was lying on her back in a darkened room of a medical suite with her pants down, her bladder full, waiting to see her baby for the first time.  A little peanut.  That’s what the woman told her the baby would look like at nine weeks.  According to the plastic name tag pinned to the woman’s smock, the woman’s name was Tammy.   Her cheeks were dotted with sprays of red pimples, and her frizzy blonde hair was pulled back into a high, fountained ponytail.

Chatty at first, Tammy congratulated Susan on her pregnancy.  “I’ve got two myself,” Tammy said.  “A girl and a boy.”

“Really?  Two?”  Susan said, with impolite surprise.  Tammy seemed too young to claim possession of a pet dog, let alone children.  Susan herself was not young to be a mother.  She was a senile gravida, a pregnant woman over thirty-five years of age.  She had found this label for herself in her fat paperback women’s health book, in an appendixed glossary of health terminology offensive to women.  Senile at only thirty-seven, she reflected, continuing to run her finger through the list of offensive words.  Pregnancy Wastage.  Vaginal Atrophy.  Habitual Aborter.

Now, in the dim light of the tiny room, Tammy ceased her cheerful banter.  She became serious, silent and methodical, swiping a tool resembling a computer mouse across Susan’s gel-coated stomach.  An ominous medical quiet developed.  Susan looked away from the black-and-white monitor.  She stared up at the plastic glow-in-the-dark stars pasted to the acoustic ceiling tiles.  Her head filled with idiotic thoughts.  She pictured the Planter’s peanut with his top hat, monocle, cane, and spats.   Don’t look like that, baby, please don’t look like that.

“I can’t find a heartbeat,” Tammy said, her words careful, her tone practiced.  What about the peanut? Susan thought, Jesus Christ, Tammy, you never said anything about a heartbeat, just a peanut.  Susan looked towards Tammy’s face for reassurance--a sense that no heartbeat, though disastrous in every other context Susan could think of, was fine at this particular moment in time.  But Tammy’s gaze remained glued to the monitor that displayed the insides of Susan’s uterus, the screen showing only an empty white circle in a pool of black, everything motionless.

            “We’ll have to try the vaginal probe.”  Tammy stood up and flicked the light switch.  The fluorescent lights fluttered and buzzed before snapping on.  “Use the drape to wipe off the gel.  You can pull up your pants and use the bathroom now.”

            Left alone in the examining room, Susan mopped the gel off her belly.  Some had seeped into her pubic hair.  She rubbed at the hair with the stiff paper drape, matting the dark curls flat.  She was starting to feel as if she were in the midst of shameful, regrettable sex.  Pre-married-to-Marshall sex.  The kind of sex after which you knew without knowing the guy wouldn’t ever call.  You’d never see him again.  He couldn’t even look at you.

            “I didn’t get any pictures,” Susan said after the white plastic probe had been withdrawn from her vagina, the heartbeat still missing.  Her friends had always returned from their sonograms bearing small black-and-white pictures, two-by-two images of cloudy gray baby parts--arm and leg buds, bulbous antlike heads and torsos--little blobs of forming life.  Susan reached out and grabbed Tammy’s pale freckled arm.  “Tell me what’s going on.”

            “You need to talk to your doctor.”  She gave Susan’s hand a gentle pat.  “I can’t say anything.”

*       

On her way to the BART station to catch a train into the city, Susan called Marshall from her car.  “Well,” he said, mulling over what she told him.  “Talk to the doctor.  You don’t know anything for sure.  Think positive.”

“No heartbeat,” Susan repeated.  “Did you get that part, Marshall?  Did you hear what I said?”  She cried a little as she weaved through aisle after aisle of the crowded subway station parking lot, seeking a vacant space.  This first slight sob to escape her gave her a sense of relief but felt paltry; inside herself she craved the gasps that had convulsed her as a child after a long, stormy, tormented cry.

 “I heard you,” Marshall said in his patient, measured way.   It was one of the reasons Susan had been drawn to him.  “I agree,” he said.  “It’s concerning.”

“You bet your fucking ass it’s concerning,” Susan said, spinning the steering wheel to swerve into a vacant parking space.  “We’re not talking about a goddamn toenail,” she said.  “It’s our baby’s heart.”

*

From her office, Susan phoned her doctor.  “Tammy, Tammy the sonographer,” she explained, trying to summon a voice of authority, “she told me I had to talk to him.”  She stood with the phone in her hand and leaned her head against the cool window.  Her office was on the twenty-second floor of a building on the fringes of San Francisco’s financial district.  She looked out toward the sunny hills of Potrero Hill in the distance, the small faraway houses climbing the sloping streets in lines that seemed like a diorama of houses, an architect’s model of an imagined city.  Cloud shadows drifted over the landscape; Susan’s eyes followed the dark shapes as they rippled across the ground, fast and fluid.

The doctor was distressingly prompt in returning her call.  Switching her phone from speaker to receiver, she put the doctor on hold while she hurried to close her office door.  Her legs shook when she walked back to her desk to pick up the phone; the floor seemed to sink and rise beneath her, as if she were walking in a fun house. 

They’d need to do some blood tests, but probably, in all likelihood, there’d be no baby.  Susan would miscarry, eventually, but the doctor preferred she have a D and C.  Dilation and curettage, so fetchingly French.  It would be a preemptive strike.  “That way you’ll avoid the bleeding, the cramps.  It can be pretty bad.  And we don’t want you to have to buy a new mattress.  If it happens at night.”

“No,” Susan said.  “I like my mattress.”

*

The D and C was nothing.  A little scraping, a little sucking, like a visit to the dentist’s.  Or an abortion.  Yes, it was exactly like an abortion!  How could Susan forget the long afternoon at Planned Parenthood the summer she turned fifteen?  Only this time, she wanted the baby that was scraped and suctioned.  And the baby was dead.  Dead in the womb.  Or had never been alive.  Or never would be.  Or something like that.

Baby, Mommy should have never laughed at that Roe v. Wade joke.  Mommy’s sorry.  So, so sorry.

*

The day after the D and C, Susan stayed home from work.  Marshall offered to stay with her.  “Go in,” she insisted.  When he leaned over her in bed to kiss her good-bye, he asked her yet again whether she wanted him to take the day off.  “Go,” she said.

She grabbed his silky tie and yanked him to her, giving him a dry kiss on the lips, inhaling his shaving cream menthol scent.  “I’m fine.”

“Hey,” she called out when he got to the bedroom door.  He turned to look at her.  “You smell good,” she said.

“Thanks.”  He smiled and rubbed his chin with his hand, then fiddled with the knot of his tie. “I’ll call you later.  Answer the phone.  Or I’ll worry.  Okay?”

She roused herself from bed a few hours after Marshall left.  “What’s wrong with you?” she said to her reflection in the bathroom mirror.  She looked red-eyed and wild-haired, her skin invaded by blotch.  Tall and thin, she reminded herself of a species of crane, a flamingo perhaps, knobby and stilted.  When she was tired or upset she knew she looked unhealthy, skeletal--a potential victim of famine or anorexia.

“There’s no baby,” she said to her mirrored self.  She lifted the oversized T-shirt she slept in up to just below her breasts.  The slender arches of her hip bones framed her stomach; her underwear bulged with one of the fat sanitary pads from the hospital.  “No baby,” she said again, letting the T-shirt fall down.  “Got it?”

Later, Marshall phoned to check on her.  He suggested she shop at the Safeway. 

“I don’t think we need anything,” Susan protested.

“Just buy staples.  Flour.  Sugar.  Salt.  Stock up.  It’ll do you good to get out of the house.”  

The store was stricken with babies.  Slumped, droopy newborns reclined in cushioned carriers with huge handles that arced over their heads.  Larger infants were strapped to chests in Scandinavian-designed fabric devices, dark stripes of cloth marking giant Xs across sturdy parental backs.

The babies’ mothers chattered at them about yogurt or toilet paper or apples.  “Here we are.  Four apples for Charlie.  One, two, three, four yummy red apples.”

Susan switched aisles, maneuvering to avoid these smarmy, baby-talking, apple-buying mothers and their children, the way she might avoid a friend she wasn’t in the mood to see, or people on street corners holding clipboards.  Subtly changing course.  Never making eye contact.  Staying out of range.

In the express checkout line, she placed a package of five thousand Swingline staples and six bottles of wine on the black conveyor belt.  The office supply aisle had been empty of babies.  The wine aisle, too.  After all, Susan could drink again.  That was the upside.  Drink and staple and smoke.  She smoked only randomly, bumming cigarettes at parties or buying a pack of Virginia Slims on vacation, ignoring Marshall’s lurking disapproval.  But today, the morning after, she wanted to do something mildly self-destructive, to punish her body a little.  If she couldn’t be a good mother, she’d be a bad girl.  At the cash register she decided against the Virginia Slims, recalling the brand’s advertising slogan from her childhood:  You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.  Her baby hadn’t come a long way.  She asked for a pack of Marlboro Lights instead.

Back in the kitchen of her own quiet babyless house, she pulled the cellophane wrapped pack of Marlboro Lights and the grocery store matches from her purse.  In the backyard, she lit a cigarette and sat down on the cement patio. From behind the solid wooden fence that surrounded her yard, Susan heard the next-door neighbors’ teenage daughter outside with some friends listening to music.  “Alanis,” Susan said, recognizing the song, shaking her head and smiling.  I’m not that old, she thought.

The girls’ talk and laughter interrupted the music in bursts.  “Swallow it down.   It feels so good,” Susan whispered along with the lyrics.

She fell silent when she heard the sliding glass door open behind her.  She turned toward the house.  Marshall stood at the door, briefcase in hand.  She glanced at her watch and frowned.  He was home several hours early.

“I didn’t marry a smoker,” he said, the hard soles of his black shoes clacking on the patio.

“Looks like you did.”  Susan held the cigarette over her head between two fingers and waved it back and forth before pulling it to her mouth to inhale again.  The Lights tasted good.  Better than the Slims.

Marshall knelt on the patio and stroked her back with a circular motion.  “Sooz, don’t do this.  You’re gonna have a baby.” 

“That was last week,” Susan tapped ash on the cement.  “Marsh.”

“You know what I mean.”  He lifted a strand of her hair, twisted it around his finger, let it fall free.  “Another baby.”

“Another baby.  Another husband.  I get it.  All better.”  Susan rubbed her cigarette out on the cement, leaving a black mark.

“We keep saying baby.”  Marshall stood up and looked down at her.  “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

 “Maybe you’re right.”  Susan propped her elbows on her knees, put her head between her legs, and looked at the ground.  When she heard Marshall walk back into the house, she lit another cigarette. 

*

The next week, Susan was back at work, back to lunches with coworkers, phone calls to friends, the commercial real estate biz.  Except for the select friends who’d received the impregnado e-mail, she’d told no one about her pregnancy, but now she felt compelled to inform everyone, anyone, of her miscarriage.  She was strident and obnoxious:  I was pregnant and now I’m not.  And for what and why?  She didn’t know why she couldn’t keep it to herself.  It forced its way out of her while she waited in line for a double latte or cash from the Versatel, wherever she was.  Yet the very point of concealing the pregnancy had been to keep the fact of a miscarriage private, unknown, below the radar.

“How far along were you?” she was asked over and over again.  Measuring her loss, that was the point of the question.  It turns out if you miscarried at anything less than twelve weeks, your loss was light, a nothing loss, a these-things-happen, better-luck-next- time loss.  Your loss didn’t have a leg to stand on.  It was a tiny little rice grain of a loss that mattered to no one, except Susan.

“Just barely,” Susan always said when she answered the question.  “Oh, had you been trying for a while?”  And there it was again.  Measuring her loss another way.  If she’d been trying for a long time, it might be okay for her to feel the way she did.  But she’d become pregnant the second time around the track, in less than sixty days.  She was the lottery-winning senile gravida.  So the pain that made her cry every three hours (secretly, silently, always in bathrooms), that made her feel hollow like an echo, that woke her nightly between two and three a.m., didn’t count.  It was to be swallowed deep inside her, not discussed.  She hadn’t earned the right to feel bad.

And then there were those who said, “Now you wouldn’t have wanted a baby with problems.”  And what could Susan possibly say?  The baby she’d imagined was a perfect Gerber baby, cuddly with soft skin, long lashes, blue eyes as big as nickels, and rolls of baby fat on its wrists and thighs.  Your standard-model healthy baby.  She hadn’t wanted a dud, a lemon, a do-over.   She hadn’t thought, spina bifida, retard, clubfoot. 

“No, I didn’t want a baby with problems,” Susan told her friends, staring at them like strangers, though she loved them and knew they loved her.  It seemed cruel of them to imply her baby would have had problems.  For so many years she had admired their children, effusively.  She had plastered pictures of them, from birth announcements and Christmas cards, all over her refrigerator.  She should have never gone to their baby showers.  She wanted all those diaper genies back.  They deserved to smell dirty diapers.

She wondered if she had ever said the things that her friends said to her now.  Yes, she probably had.  She had vague and now painful memories of similar conversations in similar circumstances.

In what would have been Susan’s second trimester, her most loyal friends grew tired of listening.  So did helpless, weary Marshall, who watched her smoke and confess, smoke and confess, smoke and confess. Mommy should shut up, baby.  No one wants to hear about you anymore.  They’re sick of you.  They’re sick of me.

Finally, her friends refused to eat lunch with her even if she offered to pay for their Caesar salads and Diet Cokes.  They had a common mantra:  you need to get over it, you need to move on, you need to get help.  Mommy needs help, baby, lots and lots of help.  HELP!  Susan scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist.

Dr. Gerard Reck was the psychiatrist’s name.  He’ll know what I’m talking about, baby, he’ll understand.  He’s a professional.  Who needs friends when you’ve got professionals?  Or a husband, for that matter.  You probably didn’t need anyone if you had professionals.

Dr. Reck was skinny and old, frail and precarious, a tilted weathered fence post of a man.  His gray hair lay in greasy stripes across the skin of his scalp.  His attire conjured up Dick Van Dyke somersaulting over a footstool--a sharply cut navy suit with narrow lapels, a slender maroon tie on top of a threadbare white shirt.

Crowding the walls of his windowless office were impenetrable dark paintings of landscapes--or were they seascapes?  It was hard to discern from their gloomy muted blackness--was that an ocean or a field?  Glass bowls filled with rocks, spare change and marbles--Marbles! In case you lost yours!--sat on his desk and bookcase.  The floor was covered with a trampled gold shag carpet.  It smelled of dust and mold, like a dank antique store.  I didn’t know my insurance was this crappy, Susan thought.  Still, she trudged on.  She was a trooper.  She would give her PPO’s in-network mental health care provider a chance.

Susan told Dr. Reck about the baby.  The baby that didn’t have a heartbeat.

“Well now,” he started, in a raspy, gargley voice, “Let me just point out, as a medical doctor, that a miscarriage is a good thing.  It disposes of a baby with deformities, birth defects.  It’s not a bad thing.”  Here a smile for cheerfulness, for the silver lining of every cloud.  “It’s not like getting your leg amputated.  That’s a bad thing.”  Here a stern glance for emphasis, for the tragedy of limblessness.  “What we need to work on, what we need to discuss next time, is why you feel bad about something good that happened to you.”

NO was the solitary word that temper-tantrummed in Susan’s brain, breaking dishes and slamming doors.  She squinted at the framed degrees on the wall behind Dr. Reck, wanting to know where he’d gone to medical school, to make sure he’d gone to medical school.  Surely he was an imposter, a fraud, a pretender.

“You can’t say things like that,” Susan wanted to tell him. “Only my friends can.  And my husband.  He can, too.  Not you.  You’re a professional.”  But she sat meekly and said nothing, tears running down her face as she made an appointment with him for the following week.  Grabbing wads of Kleenex for the drive home, she walked out of his office with her arms swinging, her fists full of tissues, the soft paper of them poking out between her fingers and flapping like petals.

The next day she phoned to cancel her appointment.

“Can I tell the doctor why you’re not coming back?” a woman asked, bright and clippy.

“I’m having my leg cut off.  That’s why.  Tell him that.”

*

The professionals had failed her so she turned back to her friends.  Who needed professionals when you had friends, friends who were women?  She’d given up on Marshall by now.  He was a man.  Susan had long known to give up on men first.  But friends, female friends, you always gave them another chance because you might not be able to live without them. 

Female or not, her friends hadn’t changed.  They were the same as before.  Cold, hard friends.  Like clumps of ice that needed to be cracked apart with a pick.  The bitter multiple miscarriers.  The infertility warriors.  “At least you got pregnant, now you know you can get pregnant.”  “At least it’s only happened once.”  “I had three miscarriages and two in-vitros before I had Jacob.”   Yes, at least.  At least.

But I still miss you, baby, Susan would think, sappily and sentimentally, in a mind voice that reminded her of the flowered Hallmark cards she’d received from her grandmother as a child.  Without fail, her grandmother had taped a dime inside each card and written in red pencil, “Don’t you forget it,” meaning that Susan should not forget that she was loved.  Susan’s thoughts were just like those cards, an endless stream of sticky sweetness.  I miss you, baby.  I do.  I promise.  Don’t listen to what they say.  It’s not true.

Next--because Susan needed a next, she had to have a next, she was a next kind of gal--she sought a support group for women who’d miscarried.  These days there were support groups for everything; surely there was one for this.  She craved sisterhood, solidarity, the company of like-minded souls, to speak and be heard by the similarly obsessed.  She wanted a Weight Watchers for women who’d miscarried.  Weigh me in!  She needed to lose her baby weight, her baby baggage.  She inquired at the local hospital.

“We have SAND,” the social worker told Susan over the phone, “That’s for SIDS and Neonatal Death.  It’s just neonatals right now.  No SIDS.  Unless we get one at the next meeting.”

“No, that didn’t happen to me,” Susan said.  “A miscarriage group, that’s what I’m looking for.”

“SAND is all we have.  But you’re welcome to come.  Miscarriages are okay too.”

*

The hospital where SAND met seemed more a business headquarters than a place of birth and death and sickness and surgery.  Its glassy atrium lobby was three stories high.  Sunlight poured in through a vast expanse of mirrored windows onto a forest of tall potted trees.  Hyatt goes hospital, all floors non-smoking.

The SAND meeting had already started when Susan entered the small conference room on the hospital’s tenth floor.  Nine women and one man sat around an oval-shaped, gray formica table.  They glanced at Susan.  After the door clicked shut behind her, Susan took a seat.  She was filled with a pulsing sensation; her eyes and stomach and hands all seemed to be beating.  A vacuum-like sound droned in her ears.  She wanted to leave but was afraid.  What would she say if they questioned her?  Sorry, I thought this was Weight Watchers?

The women were telling their stories in turn.  They spoke with such a tired familiarity that Susan decided they must be regulars at these meetings.  The social worker Susan had talked with on the phone chimed in with occasional encouraging comments.  The expressions of the regulars were resigned, like the faces you see in police mug shots.  They looked like they wanted to punch you, but couldn’t.  How else could they look?  They were the mothers of dead babies.

After the regulars had spoken, all heads turned to the woman and lone man who sat together, looking terrified and supplicating, clearly not regulars.  They introduced themselves.  Their names were Rosalie and Mike. 

Rosalie had olive skin and black wavy hair that hung down to her shoulders.  She had dark purplish spots under her eyes that resembled inky smudged thumbprints.  Her hands were clasped together on top of the table, long-fingered and delicate, the rest of her body camouflaged in navy-blue sweats.

Mike was brawny and wore jeans and a T-shirt; Susan pegged him as a construction worker.  He had longish brown hair that drifted into his eyes and pink skin raindropped with sandpapery acne scars.

It was their first SAND meeting.  Mike did all the talking.  He spoke of a perfect pregnancy, a beautiful birth, a first child.  A son.  A dead son.

“Joseph was nursing,” Mike said.  “He even had his first bowel movement.”  Mike stopped talking for a second and beamed.  Susan smiled back at him, wanting him to feel proud of his son, for breastfeeding and pooping, a newborn’s accomplishments.

“Then our pediatrician came to circumcise him, all normal stuff,” Mike said.    “Before the doctor had done anything, something went wrong with his breathing.  Joseph turned blue.  They took him from our hospital to Children’s in an ambulance right away.  I had to leave Rosalie to go with him.  I didn’t know where to be.  I wanted to be with them both.”

Susan began to cry, without making a sound, wiping her eyes on her sleeves.  Rosalie cried, too, like Susan, without making a sound.  Tears ran down Mike’s face as he talked.  No one else in the room cried.  Not the social worker.  Not the regulars. Looking around the room at their tearless faces, Susan guessed they had heard too many dead baby stories.  They probably wished that a brand new dead baby could still hurt enough to pull tears from them.

“At Children’s hospital the doctors told me Joseph wouldn’t live,” Mike said.  “I had to go back to the hospital where Rosalie was and tell her.  One of the doctors drove me.  He was going to help me tell her.”  Mike shook his head back and forth, rubbing his lips together.  “I wanted to jump out of the car.  I wanted us to crash.  After I told Rosalie, they let her leave the hospital so she could go see Joseph at Children’s before he died.  The labor nurses, the ones who were there when Joseph was born, they cried with us when we told them.  It’s not supposed to be like this, they kept telling us.  This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

“When we got back to Children’s, I baptized Joseph.  Myself.  I couldn’t believe I could, but I did.  I remembered how.  From catechism.”  Mike smiled and tapped a gold cross that hung around his neck.

“Joseph was so beautiful when he was born.  After they hooked him up to all those machines you couldn’t really see him anymore.  They gave us Polaroids but he had all those tubes attached.  I wish we had more without the tubes.”

After Mike finished talking, words were spoken that Susan did not hear, questions were asked and answered that Susan did not hear, until the heads turned again, this time to her.  It was her turn to speak.

“I shouldn’t be here,” she said.  “I don’t know why I’m here.  I only miscarried at nine weeks.”  She put her elbows on the table, holding her head in her hands, talking to the gray formica table.

“It didn’t even have a heartbeat.  But it was a baby to me.”  She laughed strangely.  “I talked to it.”

Susan paused and looked at Mike and Rosalie, unwilling to risk looking at anyone else.

Rosalie put her hands on the table and stared down at them, as if the delicate bones and tendons were paths on a map.

            “My baby lived one day,” Rosalie said.  “Less.  Seventeen hours.

“At Joseph’s funeral, these mothers at the church all tell me, oh, he’s a little angel now, he’s in God’s arms.”  Rosalie raised her eyes from her hands and gave Susan a fierce look.  “He should be in my arms.

“This other mother at the church, her son died when he was ten, she tells me the longer you love them the harder it is.”  Rosalie shook her head.  She looked up at the ceiling and dragged her fingers under her eyes.  “She didn’t know.”

Her gaze returned to Susan.  “You know.”

Rosalie reached out for Mike’s hand, giving him a wan look, turning away from Susan and everyone else.

 A minute of silence passed.  Then the social worker wrapped up the meeting, gift-like, with neat rehearsed comments.  The regulars pushed back their chairs from the table and stood and chatted with one another.  The social worker approached Rosalie and Mike with a thin paperback book and a small stack of pamphlets.  Unnoticed, Susan left the room, weak from the listening, the talking, the crying.  She was happy to be ignored, happy to be left alone.

She walked down a vacant hallway of the hospital toward the elevator bank and waited until the elevator arrived with a ding.   The stainless steel doors parted to an empty interior.  The elevator’s outermost wall was a glass window with a view of the treeless green hills in the distance.  The mossy silhouettes of the bare hills flowed in smooth green curves that seemed like the shoulders and hips of the earth.  Susan touched the button for the first floor, a star that lit up yellow, and the doors slid closed.  As the elevator descended, Susan thought about herself and Rosalie and whatever it was they both knew.  Most people didn’t know.  And you couldn’t explain it to them.  No matter how hard you tried.  Right, baby?

 

 

**

 

Ann K. Ryles is a graduate of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco and UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. Her fiction has appeared in Clare, Edifice Wrecked, and Stirring: A Literary Collection.


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Photo by ortizmj12


                                                                                                                                 

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