Sentenced.

Megan Thomson Connor


It was late August when we met. He was a writer and everything he said sounded poetic and suggestive. He had a pool at his apartment complex. In the moonlight, we played chicken fight with a couple of teenagers. After they left, I remained on his shoulders as he bobbed around the pool, his beard grazing my inner-thigh.

After we had sex, I slipped away to the bathroom and looked in the mirror to see if I appeared different. It was as if he had surprised me out of a long daydream. Something inside of me had begun to thaw, and now I couldn’t hold onto it as it melted out of me. I felt careless and happy as my hair, still wet from the pool, dripped down my back.

When I returned from the bathroom, he was on his laptop. He had written one line in a word document. I couldn’t read it, but it glared at me like a warning label. It had to be about me. Upon seeing that I had returned, he minimized the screen but it was too late. I had seen the writing on the wall. That night when we went to sleep, he turned his back towards me and I, in turn, rolled away to the dark. Truth is in the space between bodies.

In the fall, I was late and he was distant. I asked to meet and he told me we would be better off as friends. As he spoke, I forgot about the idea germinating inside me. All I could think of was the line he had written. It was October when I dreamed my belly was bowling-ball round and that it was summer. I squirmed in the heat and he was there in my dream splashing me playfully from the pool. I awoke with blood-soaked sheets and a searing pain in the pit of me. I crawled from my bed, drops of blood splattering in small circles on the hardwood floors, and birthed the dead seed on the bathroom floor. I lay there for hours on the cool tiles, dripping in sweat, shocked that I could leak so much fluid and still have more to give.

In the morning, I sat in the bath and stared out at the mess on the floor unsure of my next move. I felt as if I was at a crime scene except I wasn’t sure if I was the victim, the suspect, or the guy in the hazmat suit. I breathed hard as I scooped what I suspected to be my unborn child into a small plastic container I had eaten Korean take-out from the night before. Outside it was cold. I arrived at the graveyard on auto-pilot. I wasn't even thinking of the dead, but of the time he and I stayed up to watch the sunrise. We’d headed to the graveyard as it was on the only hill in the village. We walked up the fake streets, past the older tombstones stuck out like crooked teeth, until we were at the top where the cemetery turned to woodland. From there, we could see over the village to the ocean where the sun had risen on the horizon as promised.

Now, I walked up alone, keeping the container as steady as I could. At the edge of where the graveyard met the woods behind it, I scraped out a hole in the damp earth and placed the container inside. I covered it well. Then I kept covering it because I wasn’t sure what came next. I considered calling him, but I didn’t know where I would start or what I would say. I knew for certain that whatever sentence he had written about me had not described me as the future mother of his child, let alone its undertaker.

On my way home, I walked past his apartment complex. They had drained the pool for the season. I lingered there for a moment, imagining the pool beneath the tarp, now a simple basin; empty and waiting.


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Megan Thomson Connor is based in Rockland County where she lives with her dog George. She minored in creative writing as an undergraduate student at Bryn Mawr College. She works at ArtsWestchester and writes fiction with "River River Writers' Circle" in her spare time.