We were married, and that was that, I guess. Walking down the aisle ended our lives.

I was happy though. As happy as happy ever is, really. I was finally out of my parents' house, finally on my own. It was my opportunity to prove that I was all those things that my mom said that I could never be.

But I was bitterly alone and deathly scared.

On the first night out, I burnt all of the food that I cooked and we had to get take out. That was when I began to realize that marriage was not so much a state of being as it was a job. I could very easily be fired if I did not meet expectations. After that, I burnt no food. I did laundry promptly. I became the perfect housewife, ever obedient and so mindless.

I dropped my job when we had our first baby, Natasha. Nattie was beautiful and perfect. She was so intelligent, looking at me with her big round eyes and brilliant smile. When I was around her, I knew that things were going to turn out right.

Then I dropped her and she went into a coma and died. That was when I got the inkling that I was not meant for life after all. Three more children later, three more perfect children later, and my baby boy drowned in the kiddie pool. With four lifeguards on duty.

You've all heard of post-pardum depression. I had worse. I had house-wife-syndrome, and it was a fatal case. I endured my husband, I endured the sympathy and pity that came from those around me. My children were dull and uninteresting, and I couldn't speak with them without wailing over lost Nattie.

So I tried to escape in writing. It had worked twenty years ago, hadn't it?

I wrote to clear the writer's block that seemed ever present. I wrote because I had never shaken off that day in tenth grade when I realized that I would never write again. I wrote because it was natural for me to do so. Ever since I threw everything away, I had become a different person. I had children. I had a husband. What had happened to that vivacious girl that I had left behind? Where was she now, when I needed her help and support?

I dug out notebooks, desperately searching for the day that I'd lost myself. I'd found nothing, nothing but a phone number scribbled down, enshrined in a lopsided blue-pen heart. A phone number that probably didn't work anymore.

"Yeah, hi, is... is... she in?"

I sounded like myself on the telephone again, not someone so calm and composed as to actually have a conversation. In the other room I could hear my two daughters duking it out over the remote, but I tried to ignore them, tried to quash the twinge that went through me when I thought of how genius Nattie would handle it were she there.

"Is who in?" crackled the voice on the other line.

"It's Katie," I said desperately. "Katie Weller."

"Katie Weller?" There was a long pause. "Hold on, Katie."

"I'm holding." I was clenching the phone tightly now, prepared for the moment of truth. The moment of acceptance or rejection. Apology or continued hatred.


"Hi... It's Katie."

"Katie who?"

"Katie Katie. You know." Stupid phone games. Stupid stupid stupid phone games. I really was 15, and the phone was my bane, and I couldn't think of a single thing to say to the one person who'd mattered. The shriek of one of my daughters brought me back to the present.

"I had four children," I said quietly.

"Katie WELLER!"

"Yeah, Katie."


Funny how guns can make just the same click before ending someone's life.