Lila squats to pee at the edge of the river and notices that what comes out of her isn’t light or even bright yellow, or even clear, but a brownish-red stream of urine with clumps of what she later realizes is the baby that might have been, but will never be.
“Shit,” she says as she wipes with her hand, waits a good measure for the river to carry her pee away and recycle itself beneath her, and then submerges her hand in the water and swishes it around to wash it. She pulls her shorts up and for only a second considers continuing her run up into the canyon. If she does, she will come back with the telltale bloody inner thighs and there will be no way to hide that. Resigned, she heads back to camp thinking she’ll get into the medical case and find a tampon or two before anyone else wakes up. “Or ten,” she says aloud, aware that there is no way there will be enough to staunch the unexpected flow. She walks back, wending her way through the waist and chest-high sagebrush.
She smells smoke before she reaches camp and once in the clearing, sees Elaine crouched in front of the fire, nestling the percolator in the ashes. Katie is perched on a log with a mug in her hands. She is pale and bleary-eyed, her hair still in yesterday’s ponytail but with a halo of escaped curls. Elaine looks like an ad for REI or a local paddle shop. Her hair is brushed and shiny, the silver a fine contrast to the black. Her perpetually tan skin seems to glow and when she looks up at Lila and smiles, Lila forgets to be annoyed for just a second and smiles back.
“What’s wrong?” Elaine asks without missing a beat.
Lila tries to think of a way to get what she needs without having to say anything. The minute she tells anyone about the blood, it isn’t her secret anymore. But there is no way around Elaine and if Lila lies, or tries to sneak into the medical kit, it will only make things worse. She sighs, annoyed and resigned. “Do either of you have any tampons?”
“Thankfully that ship has sailed,” Elaine says. Katie shakes her head.
“Shit,” Lila says again. “Anything in the medical kit?”
“You didn’t bring any?” Elaine asks. She is busy in the kitchen box now, organizing it seems.
The percolator starts to bubble and the smell of coffee wafts up from the coals. Katie leans forward and Lila is glad she’s far enough back from the fire that she won’t topple in.
“I shouldn’t need any,” Lila says softly, but both women hear.
“That sucks,” Katie says.
Elaine simply raises her eyebrows. “Irregular cycle?”
Lila tries to think of another way to tell this lie, but again, resigns herself to the truth. Elaine rarely comes on these group trips but she is a part of the group. She is tough, having paddled the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, a ten-day trip with some big water, and in winter, without being able to successfully roll her kayak. She’s worked as a nurse with Doctors Without Borders and is at the main hospital in their city as the head ER nurse.
“She whips all the docs into shape and keeps them there, even the power freak John Carter,” Lila’s boyfriend Will says, awe clear in his voice.
And she can spot a bullshitter from 100 yards. Lila has seen her do it, and watched her call a few of their friends out as well.
“I don’t think so,” Lila tells Elaine. She hopes she won’t have to say what she does think, but surely Elaine will figure that out, or already has.
“Have you been sick?” Elaine asks offhand.
“Not really,” Lila looks away.
“Miscarriage?” Elaine asks. She doesn’t pretend to be busy in the box anymore, but is giving Lila her full attention. That’s when Lila realizes Elaine has been watching her the whole time. Katie is leaning into the fire, having found an oven mitt somewhere, and reaching for the percolator. She looks up, eyes wide with surprise.
“I’m sorry,” she says. “Were you guys trying?”
“Are you kidding?” Lila asks. “I’m the least likely to be a mother.”
There’s no need to go into the other stuff—the fact that she and Will haven’t talked about anything beyond the next raft trip, which is a month away. A year and a half into their relationship, they still have their own apartments and Lila isn’t looking for anything different. It seems Will isn’t either.
Katie shrugs and slowly pours the rich coffee into her red enameled mug. As soon as Lila gets a tampon, she may have to join her for a cup. The idea of a solitary run and more time to herself this morning fading with each minute.
Elaine says, “This is a bigger thing than just getting a tampon, Lila, especially if you think it’s a miscarriage. You could get an infection. Women die from miscarriages when they don’t have proper attention.”
“I’m fine,” Lila says, imagining Elaine means women die from despair.
“I’ll see what we’ve got, but I’m going to have to tell Dave,” Elaine says. She’s apologetic, Lila realizes, but there’s no debating this. It’s Dave’s permit they’re using, and he is the trip leader; he has to know.
Shit, Lila thinks, but she just nods. “No one else,” she says, and she looks at Katie to make sure she agrees.
“Of course,” Elaine says. She’s already squatting in front of the medical kit. She pulls out what might be four pads or ten tampons and holds the package up to Lila. Lila is already feeling relief. It will take one or two and this odd bleeding will be over. It’s a fluke. It can’t be a miscarriage. She’s careful always. Maybe it’s stress, the letdown from being away from her job. That’s it, she tells herself, and right as she takes the bundle from Elaine, Jordan says, “Looks like I just busted a smuggling operation. What are those, narcotics?”
“Yes,” Elaine says, and then joking, “Sorry Jordan. You don’t get any.”
“I’ve got some Percocet here, Lila. You in pain? Cramps?”
Lila says no, thanks her again for the tampons and walks back upriver to the shitter to get some toilet paper. She finds a spot farther up the river from where she peed and once she’s cleaned up, she enjoys a few minutes watching the sun come over the mesa, anything to avoid thinking about being pregnant. Or having been. The possibility seems unreal. She breathes deeply, taking in the spicy scent of sage that seems to grow stronger as the sun’s light reaches across the valley. Lila stands up, and turns to look up the canyon. The sheer cliff walls are light terracotta-colored or streaked with desert varnish, the burnt sienna stains that coat some sections of sandstone. Up near the top, the rock is light, a soft buff color and covered in sagebrush.
Last year on a trip, and the second day out on this one, Lila saw wild horses on the mesa tops—mustangs rumored to be the offspring of Ute Indians’ horses from a hundred years ago. But she has never been close to them. She hoped to make it up there early this morning to see them. Not today it seems. She will have to settle on the beauty of this little section of valley—the unrelenting rock, scrubby plants, and the already white, hot sun.
On the way back to camp, she detours by the tent she and Will share to stash the tampons, expecting to find him asleep. But the tent is empty. She will have to tell him about the blood and what it must mean. A fist of panic grabs her heart, then lets go. She changes into her swimsuit, pulls on a tank dress and heads to camp for a cup of Katie’s coffee.
From the ring of sagebrush outside of the camp clearing she sees Dave, Elaine, and Will clustered near the medical box, heads bent close together. Jordan and Katie are at the cook table, perhaps preparing breakfast, and Aaron and Steve are nowhere to be seen. Will turns as Lila approaches, says something to Dave and Elaine, and then moves toward Lila, cutting the distance between them, literally, in just a few steps.
“Are you okay?” he asks, his voice strained and urgent.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Lila looks over Will’s shoulder at Dave who is watching her intently. “Everything’s fine. Honest.”
“It isn’t fine, Lila. It is a big deal whether you think it is or not.”
“Okay.” She squeezes his hand. “I’m sorry. Can I have some coffee? And can we drop it before everyone on the trip knows?”
Will drops his eyes. “Dave and Elaine will have to make a decision about what to do.”
“What to do? We have breakfast. Jesus.” Lila can’t help how annoyed she feels. She doesn’t want this attention.
“Lila,” Will says, and he pulls her into his arms and kisses her temple. She thinks he is going to say something else, make a little joke maybe, but he just holds her. In the shelter of his arms, the length of his body pressed against hers, she feels at once calm and also a tug of something like surprise, or sadness. “Why don’t you get some coffee,” he says against the side of her head.
“That would be nice,” Lila says, pulling back from him enough to looking up at him, then pressing her cheek and forehead against his neck for a second more of comfort. “Thanks.”
He lets go, steps back and Lila nods at Dave and Elaine. At the cook table, she fills a mug with coffee. Katie and Jordan are cutting vegetables.
“Veggie scramble,” Katie says.
“Perfect. I’m starving. Can I help?” Lila offers. Usually she is out running on her non-cooking mornings, sometimes with Will, sometimes alone. A few times she barely made it back while there was still food, but obviously she messed up this morning. Since she’s here, she might as well help. She tries to ignore Dave and Elaine; they still seem to be talking about her, so she turns her back to them and cuts into the two brilliant red peppers Katie pushes across the table to her.
“It’s going to be a perfect day on the river,” Jordan says.
“You think?” Lila says. She can’t keep the edge out of her voice. She looks up, realizing how bitchy she sounds, and says, “Sorry. You’re right. It is going to be great.” But Jordan hasn’t heard or doesn’t care. She is smiling and looking downriver. Lila looks too and sees Aaron and Steve running toward camp. Aaron seems focused on Dave and Elaine, but Steve glances at them. He holds Lila’s gaze before stopping next to Aaron in front of Dave and Elaine. The four of them move into a close cluster. Aaron points back to where they came from and Dave nods and then says, “Will.”
Will steps away from the fire and into the group. Dave has his back to Lila and gestures down the river also. Then he and Dave walk away from the camp and start running back in the direction Aaron and Steve came from.
“What’s going on?” Jordan asks.
“Much ado about nothing,” Lila says.
“What? Shakespeare out here? Are we doing breakfast skits?” Jordan laughs but Lila doesn’t so Jordan shrugs.
“Shit,” Lila says under her breath. “Why did I say anything?”
Katie scoops the diced onion into the iron skillet with already bubbling butter. “What? You were going to bleed all over yourself instead? The bitch does what she wants.”
For a second, Lila thinks Katie means Elaine does what she wants, but of course she means “the curse”, the monthly visitor. Her friend Heidi’s mom held a celebration when Heidi had her first period. “You’re a woman now,” her mother said. Lila never told anyone when she got hers. It was private. She could handle it. But not now.
She takes the bright red squares of pepper, scoops all of them off the cutting board and dumps them in with the onion. The vegetables start sizzling and Jordan brings the egg mix over and dumps it into another pan.
Lila stirs the vegetables, breathing in something like contentment with the sweet butter smell. When she stands up, Dave and Will are running towards camp.
“What’s up with everyone?” Jordan says.
Neither Lila nor Katie say a word. Dave’s in front and then Will breaks off to the right toward the tents.
“Will’s packing you up,” Dave says as he steps into the clearing.
“What?” Lila says.
“There’s a helicopter down the canyon. Rangers doing algae collection. You’re going out with them.”
“No, I’m not. I’m not going anywhere.”
“You and Will are. Yes. You’re a liability and we can’t have you out here four more days. The helicopter can take you to the hospital in Price. If you’re having a miscarriage, you need a hospital.”
“How many times have I said I’m fine? I forgot tampons. It’s no big deal.”
“Lila,” Dave says, “I’m sorry. I know you think this is nothing. But we’re not waiting to see if you’re right.”
“You’re so full of shit, Dave. Such a control freak!” She expects he’ll get pissed. He’ll defend himself. But he just looks resigned or sad. It strikes her how much that expression looks like his hung-over face. Maybe he is hung-over. They were late drinking around the fire. For a good three hours after she went to bed she heard them laughing and the rumble of their voices as they shared stories and told jokes. His judgement is off, clearly.
Aaron seems to have spent the energy he conjured for his earlier run. Now he is sitting by the fire being unusually quiet. And Jordan is pouring coffee for him. Steve has disappeared and Elaine is keeping her distance. Lila squats down in front of the eggs and the vegetable mixture. If she and Will stay, today will be the same as the last several days. They’ll eat, pack up camp, load the boats and float all day. She’ll laze in the sun, swim a bit, maybe guide the raft while Will naps and then they’ll stop tonight and it will all play out the same way it has the last six nights with some of them drinking too much and the others sleeping through it. Four more days of this? And then the drive home with them?
Maybe it is time to leave. If they go home, Lila and Will can still have their days off. Or he can stay and she can go home. Fly or rent a car out of Price. She can go to her apartment and hole up, read a few books, go to a movie. She could sleep. Leaving doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all.
As though he has read Lila’s thoughts, Dave says, “Lila, let yourself feel sad about this. It’s okay. I’m sorry. Really. Will is packing up what you need.”
“Sure,” she says, actually feeling relief at being out of this mess, but also a pang of that sadness, like knowing she’s going to miss out on something great even if she has no idea what it will be. “But Will doesn’t have to go. Why should he miss out on his vacation?”
“Of course he does. He wants to be with you and you might need help.”
“I’m bleeding, Dave. That’s it.”
“You don’t know what’s wrong really. You could die and it would be on us. And Will.”
“I’m not going to die,” she says. So much drama, she thinks. Dave and the others spend too much time with life and death situations in the ER and forget the real world isn’t that dangerous.
Dave doesn’t respond. Lila looks away, scanning the basin to the north for something. A way out? But here it is. Right here. She has been given a way out of here, away from the sun and heat and dust, away from this group with their quirks and tensions, of having a real shower and something greasy, fries or onion rings from a fast food restaurant, seems like the first good thing to happen today.
“Okay,” she says as she turns on her heel and walks away from Dave and the camp without looking at anyone else. Will is zipping up the tent, a small dry bag in his hand. He looks surprised to see her for a moment and then he half-smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes. He is distracted. No wonder. What must he be thinking? Is he mad she wasn’t careful? She stops, thinking how to ask him, but instead she says, “Where’s our stuff?”
His smile disappears. “We’re leaving it. The others will bring it back. I can get it at work next week.” He says it like he’s certain but there’s also worry in his voice. It’s for her, she knows, and not about their stuff.
She nods, hoping it will convey the words she is already sick of saying, that she is fine. That she can’t possibly have gotten pregnant. Why else would she be bleeding? Will holds his hand out and takes hers for long enough to squeeze it and then he leads her away from their tent. Elaine is waiting at the edge of camp. She wraps her arms around Lila and whispers “We don’t always plan how things will be” in her ear. Then she steps back and turns back to camp. Lila watches her, thinking she might look back and smile, but Elaine isn’t going to be the reason they miss the helicopter.
“Come on,” Will says. Lila glances up at the sky, at the blazing sun and the cloudless blue and follows him. In less than ten minutes they reach the rangers and a small helicopter near the end of the open basin where ranchers once lived. One of the rangers, a tall stocky bearded man in a green collared shirt and brown pants, opens the door for her. The helicopter is barely larger than her Toyota. She climbs in and Will climbs in next to her.
The rangers talk for a minute and then the shorter one walks away from the helicopter and the other walks around and climbs in the other door. He hooks his belt with a definitive click and they do the same; he flips some switches, and looks back at them and nods as the blades start whirring above their heads.
The helicopter lifts slowly and Lila leans as close to the window as she can to watch the ground drop away. Within seconds, their friends—everyone seems to have followed to see them off—seem small, almost like children looking up at shapes in the clouds, or some other wonder. Then all that is left to see is sagebrush, red dirt, rocks, and cliff walls, and the mighty sinuous band of the Green River.
The helicopter stays low, hugging the rim of the cliffs. It lurches and bucks, shifting closer to the right rim, then back out to the center. Wind causes it—it isn’t the pilot trying to make motion-sick Lila throw up—but she loathes the ride just the same. One minute it seems they are close enough to the wall she thinks she might touch it, smell the tangy sharpness of the sagebrush, rub a pinch of plump segmented cedar between her fingers until its spicy resin releases its oil. And then they are in the center of the canyon opening, moving through way too much space with too far to fall. When they fly up over the mesa and drop into the openness of the plain, Lila sees first the barren flat brownness of this high Sonoran desert and then the sprawling town. She shifts in her seat to look below them, feels a letting go inside her and what she imagines is a gush of black tar. She will get up once they land with a black and red T-bone stain on her ass for the pilot and Will and the hospital personnel to see.
But right now there is nothing to do but follow the gray band of highway and smaller roads below as the oval blob and tailed helicopter, like a dead sperm, makes its way to the hospital and its landing pad, a gray eye in the middle of so much red-brown. Lila sees all this as the helicopter moves closer to the ground before setting down smooth as a caress. She breathes, such relief to find the ground again, and silence for a moment, but then Will is up, opening the door as though he too longs for air, and he jumps out and holds his hands out to her. She is suddenly too tired to move, overcome with a pressing sadness. But Will is waiting, anxiety etching his face so she reaches for their pack, in the front seat by the ranger.
“I’ll get it,” Will says and he steps aside. There’s a nurse in scrubs with a wheelchair. How didn’t Lila see her?
“I can walk,” she tells Will. But the nurse insists and Lila, tired of all of the fuss, sits in the chair. Perhaps the ranger is the only one who has seen her bloodied butt and she is pushed ever closer to the hospital, down the concrete sidewalk and into the shade of the building, before she thinks to look at her seat on the helicopter and make sure she didn’t leave a stain behind. She twists in the wheelchair, looking for Will and half-hoping he has decided to get back on the helicopter and return to their group on the river.
As though being in the hospital makes it okay for her to feel something, she realizes she is cramping when the doors whoosh open and they leave the bright sun for the fluorescent hallways. She is wheeled inside and into a room by the door. The nurse hands her a gown and says, “Remove any tampon or pad please. Undress completely. You can use that room and then I’ll help you get on the table.”
Lila nods and steps into the bathroom. She closes the door and the fluorescent buzz of the light over the sink fills the tiny room. It is all stainless steel, white enamel and brown tile floor and walls, and the ceiling seems impossibly high, like a silo. Lila pulls her dress over her head and drops her underwear to her feet, pleased to note there is no blood on either garment. She sits on the toilet and removes the tampon, alarmed at the black slimy tissue that clings to it and the gush of blood that pours out of her. The tampons wouldn’t have lasted long after all. She wipes and looks in the toilet bowl, not sure what she expects to see. There is so much blood. She hesitates another few seconds, her throat seeming to push up into her mouth. She swallows, then flushes, and cleans herself with wet paper towels. How is she supposed to keep the blood from getting all over while she waits for someone to come in?
She cracks the door and asks the nurse, who tells her to pack paper towels in her underpants until after the examination.
Stepping close to the mirror, Lila looks at herself for the first time. It has only been a week since she has seen herself, but she looks thinner and despite her tan, including lighter areas around her eyes from perpetually wearing sunglasses, she is pale. Her hair is at once stringy and tousled. She looks wild.
Back in the examining room, the nurse helps her get on the table and within minutes the doctor comes in. Lila knows the whole pelvic exam drill but the idea of spreading her legs for this man who has only said, “Hi, I’m Dr. Martin,” after being exposed to everyone she came into contact with this morning feels like too much. Still, the sooner she can be out of here and onto, what? What will happen next? But that’s to be determined, isn’t it? She looks up at the ceiling and tries to relax her hips so the exam can be done as quickly as possible. Dr. Martin does all the things Lila’s doctor does, including finish the examination quickly. Then he pulls the sheet down to cover her. He doesn’t tell her to scoot up, so she doesn’t move. He stands up and walks around to talk to her while she is still on her back. It’s the half-smile, apologetic and calm, that nearly undoes her, that or the way he says “tissue” for “the baby that didn’t live” when he explains the procedure.
Lila is glad she is lying down. The surprise of the truth of the blood might have made her sit down otherwise. What? What? What? buzzes in her head, and Dr. Martin must hear that or the other question she isn’t asking because he says, “Your friends were right to send you out. The later the miscarriage the more serious. You are early enough though that your body should naturally dispel everything. But since it will be a day or two before you get home, and can get a doctor’s appointment for the procedure, we need to go ahead.”
Lila nods, although she isn’t sure what she’s agreeing to really. Will has obviously filled him in on their circumstances, the fact that their car is nearly 70 miles away, that their families are hundreds of miles away, and that they have only the things in their small bag.
Dr. Martin says he’ll be back and then he leaves and the nurse follows him. Lila sits up on the table. She wants out of this room. This moment. How could she not know she was pregnant? What would she have done if she had known? But before she can follow that thought to an answer, the door opens again and Will comes in looking rangy and tan, out of place in this setting, but no less than she does.
“Can we get out of here?” She doesn’t want the D&C. She doesn’t want to talk about it or what it means for them. She wants it, them, to be what, a month ago? Before this moment. Before a baby decided to talk hold of her. And then let go.
“There’s a hotel next door. I got a room. You can rest and I can figure something out for us to get back to Green River and the truck.”
Lila wants to say she means let’s get out of here now, “we” can figure something out once we leave this room, but really she just wants to sleep. A bed, clean sheets, a dark room, and a movie or two; and food, those French fries she dreamed of just, what, two hours ago, something salty like lo mein or beef and broccoli or pepperoni pizza, and maybe a beer that is really cold and not just river-cold. A shower. All of it sounds so much better than waiting for Dr. Martin to come back and take away what remains of this part of them inside of her. She can’t breathe, and she reaches out for Will and buries her face in his shirt, forcing herself to relax and start breathing again. He holds her like she is a fragile thing.
There’s a knock at the door and the nurse pops her head in. “We’re ready.”
Will nods. “I’ll be in the hall waiting. It’ll be fine.” He smiles like he almost believes his words.
Lila wants to ask him to stay, but doesn’t want him to see the end of them at Dr. Martin’s hands. “Sure,” she says, and in the smile Will returns, she sees both worry and relief.
Two hours later Lila is dressed and bundled up to leave. Dr. Martin gives them both directions on how to care for her after the procedure and they walk out, Will with his arm around her. The hotel is literally next door and as Will helps her across the parking lot and inside to their room, she feels ancient, beat up, and hollowed out. The room is cool and brightly lit with a window filling one whole wall. Will helps Lila to the bed, and as she starts to pull the bedspread back, he reaches out and pulls it. Then mounds up the pillows and helps her climb into the bed. She wants to tell him that she’s okay but she is tired of saying those words and she is also just plain tired, so she lets him help her. Once she is in bed, he covers her, then steps to the window to pull the sheers closed and the opaque curtains partway. She watches him as he turns back to her and looks around the room quickly.
“You should call your parents.” But Lila doesn’t move, uncertain they need to know about any of this.
Will moves around the room one more time, touching the surface of the dresser, the TV, the table, coming to the bed and fussing with the pillows. He moves from Lila and the bed back to the dresser where he opens the drawers, looking for who knows what. His sun-browned skin stands out against the white walls of the room. He picks up the remote, turns on the TV and pulls the guide up. “Want to watch?” he asks.
When Lila says, “Not really,” he turns it off and sets the remote on the bed next to her. She wants him gone, the desire stronger than anything she remembers ever feeling before. How is she supposed to think or feel or listen to herself with him in the room?
Will opens his mouth and then closes it. She wills him not to say words she has to respond to. Then he says, “I’m going to go get some snacks. Or something in the dining room. We missed breakfast. I’ll bring you something.”
Lila nods. He picks up the key and walks to the door. She says his name and he stops and turns back around, but there is something in his face she has never seen before. He’s pale, and looks sick, like he’s been punched in the stomach. His eyes are guarded, dark blue almost. Is this how he will look at her now? His face showing fear and loss? Regret?
“I’m sorry,” she says. She thinks she is apologizing for them having to leave the river trip. Will shakes his head. In the gesture, in the fear and strain and hopelessness on his face, Lila realizes she is apologizing for losing the baby they never planned, never even imagined.
“Rest a bit,” Will says. He opens the door and steps out. Lila imagines him walking away from the room, thinking about his next task. She picks up the phone and puts it on her stomach. It rests there like a brick as she lifts up the receiver and dials her parents’ number. As the phone rings, she practices what she will say, explaining why she’s calling, why they are off the river, and what their plan is, even though she has no idea on the later.
But then she hangs up. How can she explains this when she isn’t even sure how she feels? She knows she will cry the minute she hears her parents’ voices and she needs to hold it together. Get used to the idea. Feel something other than sick and empty and sad. Or afraid to let herself feel that way. And Will? Suddenly she doesn’t want to be alone. She thinks she will go find him in the lobby. Was there a restaurant and bar? They could have a beer and talk about this, figure it out. But how? What would that conversation look like? “I’m sorry,” she says to the room, wondering how many more times she will say it and what she is sorry about. Or if she is really saying it to herself.
She slides out of bed carefully and walks to the window. Will is in the parking lot, three stories below her. He is standing in the sun, his back to her, looking to the east and the mountains they came from. What does he see? Lila scans the valley they crossed in the helicopter, the foothills, the mountains. She imagines he is thinking about their friends, wishing the two of them were out there still, floating, laughing, relaxing. Or that he was. She looks down at Will again. He still doesn’t look like himself. He is smaller, compressed or compacted. Diminished. That’s it. Like he has lost something and it is in the canyon still.
Or maybe he is looking toward home. His home. Hers. A home they might share in the future. Maybe he is thinking about her telling her parents she was pregnant. Maybe he is thinking about their loss and not knowing what to think any more than she does. She wants to knock on the window, gesture for him to come back up. She wants him to hold her, to let her sob in his arms, to feel the surprise and the fear, the hope and the overwhelming emptiness that has been with her all day.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Kris Whorton has called the South her home since the late 90s. She currently lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition at the University of Tennessee. Her fiction has been published most recently by Scarlet Leaf Review and Driftwood Press. She currently reads for The Indianola Review. She has also published poetry with American Muse, Facets-magazine, and Pinball Publishing, and her creative non-fiction has been anthologized.