Living with Wolves

by Christie Marra

October 2018
The ghostly blue bottom of the flame rose then sputtered out. Regina turned toward the pile—large logs tic-tac-toed on the bottom, skinny, splintering kindling on top.  Click-click-click. No spark. Click-click-click-click-click. Nothing. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out the matchbook. Maybe she could get a match lit long enough to set the logs aflame, get the logs to burn strong enough to light her skirt, her shirt, her skin.

“What are you doing?” George burst into the shed. She palmed the match, shrugging, looking at her pathetic pile of wood. “Go get dinner ready.” Wordlessly, she abandoned her woodpile to prepare their meal.

June 2017
Slowly, I wedged my Bug between a minivan and a black SUV. Squeezing out of the Bug, I turned to find a man frowning down at me, his button-down shirt hanging loosely on his broad form, not a single sign of sweat.
“Are you Jeremy?” He smelled like a pine forest.

“I’m George,” answered my blind date.

“Right. George. Sorry.”

He looked toward the crowded cafe and back, eyes pleading.

“Would you like to go somewhere else?”

He nodded, grinning through the dark stubble of his beard. A current shot through me.

“What sort of work do you do?” I asked George, settling into a booth at a nearby empty restaurant.

“I manage an IT department.” His lake-blue eyes dulled to grey, and I started to make a grocery list in my head.

“But what I love is songwriting.”

Visions of the frayed Andy Gibb posters hanging in my teenage bedroom popped into my head. “What kind of music do you write?”


“I hate country music.”

“I did too. I was a jazz guy. Country music was for saps. But I started listening to it closely and you know what?”


“It’s captivating.” George leaned forward.

“What made you start listening so closely?”

“I had time on my hands the summer I worked at the wolf preserve.”

“Aren’t the environmentalists trying to move wolves out of preserves back into the wild?”

George rolled his eyes. “Rewilding is an environmentalist fantasy. You can’t expect creatures who’ve lived in captivity for decades to survive in the wild. Wolves have no more chance of surviving in the wilderness than you and I have of surviving in a cave.”

The short article I’d read had said the opposite, but I nodded.

“What do you do with your country songs?”

His eyes brightened. “I was in Nashville last week recording one.” I pictured him in a red silk shirt, unbuttoned to show off his broad chest.

“Nashville. Impressive!”

“It was amazing. I saw this singer on New Country Stars that really had it, you know? A few days later I contacted the show’s producer and asked him to get her a message, explaining it wasn’t fan mail. He invited me to send my songs, and Sheila—the singer—loved them and hooked me up with a band and a studio.”

I ordered another glass of Chianti.

November 2018
The bottle Regina passed from hand to hand didn’t feel as if it held pills. It didn’t rattle as a pill bottle should, landing in her hand with the thud of a dirt-packed container. George made her eat dirt once. It tasted the way spring rain smelled.
Struggling with the cap, her hands shook, and she dropped the bottle. She snatched it up, stopping short of shoving it into her purse. George inventoried her purse into necessary, helpful, and frivolous piles, just as she arranged his clothes by color in the closet. But she never donated any of George’s dozen pairs of khakis to Goodwill, while he threw her frivolous purse contents into the trash every week.

Regina buried the pills in the dark dirt, licking the soil off her fingers. They’d be safe there. George left the digging to the gardener.

George ignored her when she entered the house.  She heated left-over coffee, took it into the bathroom and started the shower, trying to ignore the hurt. Damn her heart for letting George’s silence sting!

After her shower, Regina threw on pajamas and took her coffee to the couch. Curling into the corner, she tried to think of something to draw George into conversation, but she forgot her ideas when she saw him. He looked breathtakingly beautiful in a tuxedo. She wished she were dressed and on his arm.

George looked at her wild, damp curls and her plaid flannel pajamas, stopping for a painfully long minute on the coffee stain above her right breast. “Don’t wait up.”

She considered unearthing the Tylenol and taking them while George was out. How fitting for him to find her dead after an evening without her! But the wind hit her hard when she opened the door and she retreated to the warm kitchen. Pouring Courvoisier into her coffee, she recalled the first time she saw George in a tuxedo. Christmas, almost a year ago. He’d rented a horse-drawn carriage to drive them to the Jefferson Hotel where they drank fancy cocktails beside the twenty-five-foot tree.

The memories of their first Christmas warmed her for days, until George called her out for having a second glass of wine during dinner at Delores and Steve’s. “You clearly can’t control your drinking,” he chastised. Regina’s cheeks reddened. She pushed away her half-full wine, avoiding Delores’ eyes.

Arriving home after that dinner, George immediately opened his laptop. He hadn’t said anything since they left Delores and Steve’s, and his silence hurt more than yelling would have.

“What are you doing?” Regina hated her voice for shaking.

“What does it look like I’m doing” George snapped.

“I…I just didn’t know you needed to work.”

“My client needs this program fixed by tomorrow morning.”

“Did it…did it fall apart today?”

George glared at Regina. “I don’t have time to explain it.” He turned back to his laptop.

She walked to the front door and quietly pulled it open.

“Where are you going?” George asked without taking his eyes off the screen.

“I…I just realized I left my book in the car,” she lied. “Be right back.” She walked outside and back in quickly, her sweating hand clutching the Tylenol bottle in her pocket, her heart pounding, but George didn’t look up.

“Do not exceed more than eight pills in twenty-four hours,” the label warned. Stupid fucks. Do they think everyone’s pain is the same? Even at 97 pounds, she needed twenty-five pills to stop her pain.

Regina glanced down the hall at George, sitting straight-backed and typing furiously. She entered the bathroom, locked the door and turned on the shower. Standing in its steamy stream, the pills wrapped tightly in her fingers, she wondered if taking them in the shower would make it feel like drowning.

Crack! The bathroom door crashed open.

Regina screamed.

“Shut up!” George jammed his arm past her, turned off the water and hauled her out of the shower, his Citadel ring digging into her arm. “You never think about the water bill,” he scolded. Regina rubbed her arm, dropping the pills. They scattered like a child’s jacks across the floor. She sank to her knees, clumsily collecting them. “Get a broom.” He watched from the doorway until she’d swept up every pill.

July  2017
“Do you have the password?” I used my slightly panicked voice, relishing how my teasing never fazed George. He laughed.

I whispered “firefly” in George’s ear, tingling at his fresh scent. He repeated “firefly,” and the bookshelf swung open. Grinning his Colgate smile, he led me into the “secret” bar.

“Be right back.” I kissed him and headed to the Ladies Room to freshen my lip-gloss. Lamps along the counter glowed golden, and my face looked soft and delicate in the mirror. I almost believed I was as beautiful as George.

“Wow! You disappear for a few minutes and look at you.” He gazed at me adoringly. “You have this—” he waved his long fingers, “this magical substance on your lips that makes you even more desirable.”

“Are you enjoying yourselves?”

I jumped, looking up to find a tall and willowy woman, wrapped in a forest green sarong, her youthful face mocked by grey curls around it. “Your glasses are empty.” She waved shining gold nails toward the bar, and a man replaced our empty glasses with fresh cocktails. “Salut!” She smiled mischievously, the lights dimming as she walked away.

“Did you see the lights?” I asked George.

“It’s hard for me to notice anything besides you.”

I forgot the dimming lights and the woman in the sarong. Moving beside George, I placed my hand on his thigh. He raised his eyebrows, and I tilted my head and winked. I was ready to be alone with him.

Instead of getting the check, George launched into a description of his Nashville trip. “The drive was dull, but those chocolates they put on my pillow in the hotel were worth it!” My cheeks burned and I sipped my water. “The band didn’t know what to make of me.” His grin sparkled. “But when they heard my ideas, they were like ‘Yeah, this cat’s all right!’”

Who talked like that? I loved it.

George pulled out his credit card, motioned the waitress and headed to the restroom.

“Husband or boyfriend?” The woman in the sarong appeared from nowhere.

“Neither. It’s our fifth date.”

She stared at me, her gaze inviting, as if she were trying to offer me something. I looked down, suddenly wishing I were alone in my apartment.

“The magic number isn’t five.” She was gone when I looked up.

I kissed George in his SUV, and it ignited us. When we paused, I asked, “Did you write that song you recorded for someone special?”

He pulled away. “We’re not going to talk about past relationships. We need to focus on us.”

His sharpness stung. “Why does it bother you?”

“I’m not bothered. I want to make sure you’re committed to this, to us.” A tiny alarm sounded inside me. George leaned closer, his liquid blue eyes pulling me towards him. “Our connection is incredible. I’ve never experienced anything like it.” He kissed me gently. “That’s all we need to know.” He kissed me more passionately, and the alarm faded away.

October 2018
Regina dreamt about water. Waves scooped her up and carried her to sea. She dove to the bottom of still lakes in silver moonlight. Roaring rapids rushed her past cities. She stood naked beneath a waterfall, the shrieks and howls of the forest mingling with the sound of water hitting water.

Strong hands shook Regina from her nap.

“Take care of the dishes in the sink and the clothes in the dryer,” George ordered and walked out the door. Her ears rung and her head buzzed, as they always did when she was suddenly snatched from a dream. It reminded her of the fire alarm in school.
The clock on the mantel told Regina it was after 6:00, but despite the late hour she decided to walk to the river. The rains must have raised the water level substantially. There would be places where she wouldn’t touch bottom, and the current should be strong. She slipped on her sneakers and headed out.

Darkness fell, but the moon lit the path to the river, and she started down it.

Immediately she slipped on a wet rock and fell, bracing herself for pain. But strong hands caught her and carried her across the river. “What, who—”

“Just me,” said a familiar but unplaceable voice. Regina tried to turn to face the speaker, but she couldn’t move.

“Where did you come from?” It didn’t matter. Regina felt completely safe.

“Esquis, in the middle of dinner. I’d better get back before my husband forgets he’s in charge and goes out for a magic smoke.” Warm hands and laughter gently pushed Regina onto solid ground.

Suddenly able to move, Regina turned, but nobody was there.

The creek erupted with chirps, croaks, hoots and squeals, and Regina hurried down the path to the riverbank. Sitting on a boulder, she watched the river, black with a silver ribbon of moonlight, rush toward the city skyline. The boulder was long and wide, a natural cot for Regina’s tiny body. She lay back, arms behind her head, and played hide and seek with the moon, trying to open her eyes at the exact second it edged out from behind the clouds. The last time she opened them, a creamsicle-orange sky sat above the treetops. She’d slept through the night for the first time in months.

George’s car was missing when she arrived home. The house looked exactly as it had when she’d left, dirty dishes in the sink, her phone on the kitchen table. She saw the shape of a message and began to tremble.

Had a glass of wine, so I’m crashing at Ben’s, George’s text said. Regina laughed and laughed, until her laughter changed into sobs.

August 2017
All I want after a girls’ night is ibuprofen and bed, but I didn’t want George to think my interest was waning. We’d only been dating two months. “It will be late. I might wake you if I call.”

“I’m happy to wait up for you, baby.”

I tingled from my neck to the tops of my thigh highs. Hearing George’s sexy baritone could be the perfect end to my night.

“I’ll call as soon as I get in!”

Two drinks into the night I started to regret that promise.

“Birthday girl can’t have an empty glass.” Callie handed me another Cosmo, waving off my protests. “We promised you a wild night!”

I laughed, tossed back my drink and handed the empty glass to a passing waiter. We danced until the DJ took a break.

“On the house.” A tall, slender woman holding out a tray of cocktails intercepted us as we headed toward the bar.

“You’re the woman in the sarong,” I said, choosing my drink. The woman furrowed her brow, but her lips curved up and her green eyes sparkled. “From the speakeasy,” I added. She nodded, her violet and teal beaded earrings bobbing.

“The speak easy, the pizzeria on Main, Toni’s Tacos, I own them all,” she said. “I opened a French restaurant on 14th Street—Esquis. You should try it.”

“Maybe I’ll get George to take me there.” The woman’s bright green eyes studied me, and I felt a chill.

“Bring your girlfriends for Happy Hour. Five-dollar drinks and free hors d’oeuvres every weeknight.” She walked toward the bar, the crowd parting for her.

Something powerful pulled me toward her as she disappeared into the crowd. Cassie took my arm and redirected me toward the dance floor, though whether to keep me from following the grey-haired woman or because the music had started, I couldn’t tell. I danced for hours with a long-haired hippie and a muscular man in a tight tee-shirt and. At 2:00 A.M. the music stopped, the men disappeared, and the girls poured me into an Uber.

“Text when you get home!”

Text. George. I fumbled in my purse for my phone. 2:00 a.m. Sorry too late to call. Talk tomorrow? The Uber stopped in front of my building, and I texted the girls. Home safe!

My phone rang as I entered my apartment. I answered with, “Hey bitch, didn’t you see my text?” But I loved how we all checked up on one another.

“Regina, are you drunk?” It was George!

“Hey baby!” I stumbled to the sofa.

“How much did you drink?” He sounded different.

“I dunno. The girls bought lotsa drinks,” I giggled.

“You don’t know how many drinks you had? That’s not like you, Regina.” He was angry. I stopped giggling.

“I know. Sorry, baby, but it was my birthday, and there was Uber.” A long silence. “George?”

“I’m thinking,” he replied dispassionately, as if he were measuring my drinking against my better qualities.

“It’s no big deal.”

“It is to me, Regina. Didn’t you have a drinking problem in your twenties?”

“No.” I drank so much my first semester of college my grades suffered, and I was put on academic probation, but I was eighteen.

“Isn’t there a history of alcoholism in your family?”

“Nobody’s been in rehab or anything.”

“Your mother’s been to jail for drunk driving and your uncle has three DUI convictions. Isn’t that a history of alcoholism?”

I started crying.

“Are we finished?”

“No, baby, we’re not finished.” George’s tone softened. “I want you to take care of yourself and be your best person.”

“What am I supposed to do?” I sobbed.  I finally had a smart, handsome boyfriend. “I don’t want to lose you!”

“Shhhh. It’s okay. I don’t want to lose you either. But I can’t watch you drink like this.”

I took deep breaths, trying to stop shaking, wishing I didn’t want him so much.

“Dating someone with a drinking problem isn’t good for me. And having a drinking problem isn’t good for you.”

“I know!”

“Do you think you can stop? For yourself, baby, not for me.”

“I stopped for a year once.”

“But baby, can you stop now?”

I thought about the Sunday mornings I’d skipped pole practice because of hangovers, and the New Year’s Eve I drank so much I threw up in Carrie’s plant. “I can stop.”

October 2018
Regina waited for the familiar fog, but she stayed razor sharp, shifting from phone call to editing to email without errors. Her coffee sat half full. She hummed “I Will Survive.”

“Somebody ate her Wheaties!” Marcus winked as he walked by. But it wasn’t Wheaties, it was sleep. She’d slept better on the rock than she’d slept in ages. Early in their relationship, when George’s lectures about the bad influence of her friends or refusal to answer her late-night calls kept her awake, warm milk helped. Later, after George asked her to move into the guest room and the dreams of him making love to other women started, warm milk wasn’t enough.

But last night she slept deeply and restfully, without dreams or worries.

The window above Regina’s desk framed a cloudless blue sky. Regina wanted to wander under that sky. But it was only 3:00, and as she was paid hourly, she was trapped, despite having finished her assignments. She looked towards the window, where the leaves tickled each other in a rectangle of sparkling blue. To hell with a few hours’ pay! She’d tell George payroll made a mistake when he checked their bank account.

Regina sucked in autumn air like a woman who’d been trapped beneath the surface of the ocean as she headed toward Mez Sinclair’s coffee shop. Everyone knew Mez now. The New York Times raved about her Italian trattoria and German bierhaus. Regina was surprised when she opened a coffee shop. But Potent Potions was no ordinary coffee shop, with voodoo dolls on every table, walls decorated with shrunken heads, mugs shaped like cauldrons. Regina loved it. At least, she loved it the two times she allowed herself to be late to work to get cappuccino. George didn’t like her to dawdle on her way home.

The only patrons in Potent Potions were two old men, one bald, bespectacled, and wiry, the other snowy-haired and round, playing checkers beneath the anguished stare of a shrunken head. Across from the old men, Mez decorated the “Specials” board, swirling colors into vines. The air smelled of fresh coffee and wet leaves.

Regina ordered a cappuccino. The voices of the old men rose above the hissing steam.

“The wolves brought water back to Yellowstone.”

“Bah! Wolves can’t bring water because water brings life. Wolves are killers!”

“I’m telling you, the wolves brought life back to Yellowstone! They righted the ecosystem.”


“You know nothing. I’m gonna tell Myra to get you a subscription to National Geographic.”

Regina took her coffee to the table nearest Mez to watch her draw the vines. From a distance, they looked thin and solid, but now Regina saw they were thick and filled with colorful ladybugs, caterpillars and bees. She stared at the bugs so long they seemed to move.
“Put allspice in that cappuccino,” Mez said, her back to Regina. “You need to spice things up.” Regina looked around. “You need to spice things up,” Mez repeated, suddenly sitting across from Regina. “Don’t you?” Mez grinned mischievously, the gold flecks in her eyes shining as she sprinkled a reddish-brown spice into Regina’s coffee.

“How do you like your cappuccino?”

“I feel…funny. But a good kind of funny!” Regina said.

Mez laughed. “Good! I worry about you. You come to my other restaurants with the man with the big head and the scowling eyes.” Regina tried to picture George’s head. It had never seemed unusually large. “You have a troubling look in your eyes when you are with the big-headed man.” Mez put her chin in her hands and tapped her cheek with her pinky. “Is he your husband?”

“No, he’s…he’s my boyfriend, I suppose.”

“You don’t know if he’s your boyfriend?” Mez raised an eyebrow into which threads of gold had been stitched.

“No. I mean yes, of course, he’s my boyfriend.”

“You need another.” She took Regina’s empty mug. Regina checked her watch. She still had an hour. Mez handed Regina another cappuccino and sat, inhaling steam from her own mug. “Tell me why you’re not sure the man with the big head is your boyfriend.”

Regina drank more cappuccino, and her arms, legs, fingers and toes tingled.

“What’s his name?”


“An ordinary farm name.” Mez dipped her finger in her drink and sucked it. “And you are?”


“Regina signifies queen. Did you know that?” Regina shook her head. “Is Farmer George with the big head good to you?”

Ordinarily she lied and said George was wonderful. “Not anymore.”

“What does he do, Regina?” Mez touched Regina’s hand.

“He laughs at me when we’re with other people, and when we’re alone…” Regina took a sip of cappuccino. “He ignores me.”

Mez squeezed Regina’s hand briefly. “Farmers don’t understand queens. Queens have special powers, and farmers know that with these powers, queens can take over the world.” She leaned closer and whispered, “So you know what farmers do to queens?” Regina shook her head. “They try to take away their power by pretending the queens are crazy, or selfish, or stupid.”

“George says I’m all those things.” It felt good to finally share this.

“You’re none of those things.”

Regina stared at Mez, wondering whether she believed her.

December 2018
“We were starting to worry we’d never see you again!” Callie threw her arms around me.

“How’d you convince him to let you out with us?” Marci had never liked George.

“He’s out of town.” I avoided their eyes.

“How did you get here?”


“Aha!” Marci took the club soda from my hand and summoned the bartender. “Bring my friend a cosmopolitan, good sir!”

I shook my head. I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol since my birthday fiasco, a year and a half ago. George was so proud of me.

“Come on Reggie,” Callie urged. “We won’t tell!”

“On the house!” The bartender handed me the drink. The girls watched me expectantly. Wanting to honor my promise to George, but also longing for a taste of Cosmopolitan-flavored freedom, I stared at the bartender. He leaned over and whispered, “I’m trying to play the gallant knight rescuing the princess from a dull evening. Please don’t dampen my acting aspirations!”

I laughed and raised the glass to my lips, tipping it back, the sweet liquid burning my tongue and throat. Curtseying, I held my empty glass out to the bartender. He returned with a new concoction. I blew him a kiss. He caught my kiss and winked.

The band played and I sang and danced and flirted with men who didn’t say a word about the drink in my hand. But after that second drink I switched to water. At 2:00 a.m., the band stopped, the bar closed, and I was sober.

The house looked too bright. I could have sworn I’d turned the extra lights off. George insisted no more than one light be lit if nobody was home.

“Where have you been?”

I started trembling. What was he doing home?


“I. I…out. With the girls.”

“The girls? Why—” He stopped and shook his head. “It doesn’t matter. But—” he walked toward me, hand in his pocket, eyes holding mine. “I hope this does.” He dropped to one knee and smiled up at me. “Will you marry me?” The ring gleamed in his palm.

“YES! One-hundred times yes!” George put the ring on my finger, and pulled me into his arms.

January 2019
“What do you miss most?” Mez leaned toward me, stirring cream into her coffee. “If you could get back one thing you gave up for him, what would it be?”

“Dance.” I answered unhesitatingly, just as I had answered “yes” when Mez asked whether I had regrets about accepting George’s proposal. I don’t know why I can’t lie to Mez. Perhaps it’s because being near her soothes me. Sometimes her eyes lighten to a sea-green, and surrounded by her sand-colored skin they make me think of the beach, the place where I have always felt at peace.

“There’s a dance studio near the airport.” Mez said. “I’ll take you.”

“What kind of dance studio?”

“Ballet, jazz, hip hop, whatever you desire.”

“Ballet?” I’d signed up for Beginning Ballet last year but withdrew so I’d have more time with George.

“Have you taken ballet?”

“Growing up, I wanted to more than anything, but after Dad left there was no money for extras.”

“Dance was more essential than food in our house,” Mez said, raising a gold-stitched eyebrow. “As was music, and horticulture and po—” She paused to down the last of her coffee. “Perfume recipes,” she concluded.

“How did you make perfume?”

“Ballet it is!”

“I really should check with George before—”

“The only one you need to check with is yourself. Do you want to go to ballet class with me?” The gold in her eyes glowed.


“Good.” Mez handed me a bag. Inside were tights, a leotard and ballet shoes, in my exact sizes.

Regina dressed in early morning darkness, although she wasn’t meeting Mez for hours. “The litigators have discovery due, so we have to work Saturday,” she’d explained to George the night before. He never questioned her long work hours, convinced that hard work built character.

Regina pulled sweats and her winter coat over her ballet clothes and tiptoed into the kitchen.  Worried the Kuerig might wake George, she pulled a half-full bottle of iced cappuccino from the refrigerator and went onto the back deck.

The sun rose behind the trees stealthily, hiding amid thick trunks and limbs until it emerged and sent translucent beams through the branches. Its glow reminded Regina of Mez’s eyes.

George flew out the back door, holding her ballet shoes high. “Whose are these? I know they’re not yours.” He laughed derisively. “You haven’t found a little ballerina to lick, have you?” He moved so close to Regina she could feel his breath.

“Of course not!” She forced a laugh.

George put the ballet shoes on the railing beside him and lit a cigarette. “Don’t you have to go to work?”

“I, umm…yes.” Regina walked past George and the shoes, through the house and into her car. She drove barefoot to the library, parked in the spot furthest from the entrance, and cried.

April 2019
I knew I couldn’t stop by Potent Potions and make it home on time. But Mez asked me to sample her raspberry chocolate truffles and I always do what Mez asks. It isn’t like it is with George. I never regret saying yes to Mez.

“Where have you been?” George glowered at me from the staircase landing.

“I just stopped…um…for some coffee.”

“Coffee? At 5:00 in the evening?”

I glanced at the clock.

“It’s 6:00 now!” George barked. “And there’s no cocktail, no dinner, nothing!” He sprung off the steps and planted himself in front of me, hands on his hips. I tried to smile, hoping it would calm him. “You think this is funny?” George yelled with such force he spit on me. I moved back a step. “Do you think you can get away from me, Girlie?” For the first time, I wondered if George was drunk.

“Have you been—”

“What?” He grabbed my wrists. “Have I been WHAT?”


“LIAR!” George dug his fingers into my arms. “How long have you been lying to me?”

“I never lie to you.”


George twisted his hands around my arms until the flesh burned. His foot met my stomach and propelled me into the kitchen. I toppled into the stove. George rushed to me as I pulled myself up, dragging me by my neck onto the back deck. The darkness hid his face, and I found the courage to sink my teeth into the palm of his hand until he released me.

I ran into the woods bordering the property. They were barely deep enough to give me cover. The door to the house squeaked open and banged shut. I collapsed against the trunk of an oak, hoping that tending to his wound would occupy George for a while. But we lived on a five-acre lot. I had no idea how long it would take to get to the nearest house or what I’d say once I got there.

The bushes rustled. I turned to find the bright golden eyes of a wolf watching me.

“Regina!” George’s voice, desperate and threatening, broke the wolf’s gaze. She looked toward the house. “Regina! Come here now!” The wolf looked at me, and I nodded.

“Come here, Regina!”

She bounded toward George’s voice, and within seconds I heard him scream.
Christie Marra is a Legal Aid lawyer, housing justice advocate, pole sport amateur competitor and writer who lives in Richmond, Virginia. Her stories have appeared in Oyster River Pages, Pangryus, and The Write Launch.