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I Was Almost Named Megan

By Hannah Stout

Around 2001 people panic and cry in the streets but I’m only

a baby in my tired mother’s arms. The day

full of blues and sun so bright you could go blind. Planes

crashing, towers crumbling.

Around 2013 I’m called Pepperoni Face by a boy who I wouldn’t kiss.

My acne got better, and he dropped out.

Around 2019 I get my first college acceptance letter, and a rejection.

My new stalker sends me pictures of my car,

blowing up my phone with messages, “Who are you with?

I love you. You’ll never find anyone like me.”

I never filed that restraining order.

Around 2013 I watch my father drown years of his sorrows

in a bottle of rum thick with his tears. “Wh..why are you crying? Only—

hiccups—babies cry.” His slur spits on my tear-streaked face. He has an

on and off relationship with AA meetings, but he’s sober, now.

Around 2010 I officially become a woman, and I learn about sex

on the bus. An older boy told me I would lose my flower

sophomore year. He never graduated high school.

Around 2020 I watched the world crumble like sand from a fear of

sickness that may or may not infect them. Zoom

became my new classroom, work groups turned

into breakout rooms. Masks are everywhere.

Around 2021 my aunt died. The room was bright from the sunlight

pouring in, a sky with nothing but blue, and a broken

wail coming from a girl who didn’t get to say goodbye.

Around 2000 I’m born. My mother smells like stale cigarettes with

a hint of mint gum. I was almost named Megan.

Around 2012 my mom tells me we’re moving in with her boyfriend.

Around 2009 my crush didn’t put a gazillion red hearts on my valentine

like I did to his. I was crushed.

Around 2011 my mom tells me to watch what I eat. I tell her she shouldn’t

eat that Reese’s cup. She scolds me, asking if I knew how that

made her feel.

Around 2008 my brother leaves for bootcamp. I cry but don’t understand why.

He tenses if you touch him, his eyes blank like a fish.

Around 2021 I met Steven on a famous dating app. His long slender fingers cool

to the touch laced with callouses from hard work. Buttercream kisses

find my lips, his mustache tickles my nose.

Around 2006 dad and I sing Rockstar and I get to sing the bad words. We have

cool ranch Doritos and RC Colas on the truck ride home.

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