I can't say enough about my dear friend, Megan Paasch. When I find out a writer is from Washington, I try to follow and support them. When I first started Twitter, I always saw people meeting up in real life after meeting on Twitter and I thought "That's really cool. I wish I could do that." So after back and forth bantering with Megan and some others (most of whom have joined this little blog project), we decided to meet up. It was the beginning of a really great friendship. We shared great food and great conversation. Now we see each other regularly and talk writing, kids, and life in general.
As a writer, well, she's fantastic. She can write well in so many genres that I wouldn't dare touch with a ten foot pencil. She creates worlds and experiences that are unlike any I've read and the way her mind creates "whoa" moments is spectacular. I could not have been happier when she agreed to write for this project. She was a bit afraid at first, wasn’t sure she could do it. She hadn't really written short stories much so it was a stretch. But what she gave me was so extraordinary.
This story is one of my favorites. And I'm so excited to present it to you from my dear friend, who has more talent in her left pinky than I have in my whole body. I love her. She's always there when I need her. She is my one constant writer buddy I can count on for writing support and emotional support. I absolutely love her and am so thankful she is in my life. And I'm NEVER LETTING HER GO! There I said it.
Now, read this incredible story, which is the perfect one to set the tone as this project nears the climax, where the scrapbook and the suitcase take on a more ominous tone. Megan Paasch. The Lake Monster.
The Memory Project (continued)
It took a moment for me to realize the shivering which had begun as soon as Jesse kissed me was not from his touch, although the rapid heartbeat assured me he had an effect on me, but this…was from something else entirely.
A loud crack came from outside, I jerked up, hairs on end, eyes wide. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned my eyes toward the window, watching a massive cloud form, a great ball of gunmetal grays and small flashes of light. The bows of the surrounding trees slowly leaned to one side battling the winds. Small chunks of ice plunked against the window, then bounced off toward the ground.
The temperature in the room dropped ten degrees or more within minutes. A whistle from air being pushed through tight spaces echoed around us.
I grabbed Jesse's hand, squeezing it. "Hurricane?"
"Nah, I think it's just a summer storm." Jesse scooted toward me and put his arm around my shoulder, and softly rubbed my neck with his back of his thumb. "It'll be fine. Turn the page." He nudged his head toward the scrapbook.
My eyes bounced from the window to him a few times before finally settling back on the page in front of me. My blood turned to ice as I looked at the picture.
I had no idea what to make of it. I had no clue what it meant or how it came to be. I shivered again as I read the words, scribbled hastily in black ink at the top, 'Things They Should Not Have Seen'. I swallowed hard.
Like the previous pages, I started to get a sense from the pictures. And they became stronger. It was if, the longer I spent with this scrapbook, the more the emotions surged within me. But that was impossible. What disturbed me most was this time, it wasn't loss or love. This time the feeling was much colder. Much darker.
(to be continued)
The Lake Monster
by Megan Paasch
Dying to escape, my held breath strained against the pressure of the deep. Once I let it go, it would need to be replaced, and there was nothing to replace it with. I kicked, halfheartedly now as my legs were tired. I’d been kicking, and I’d only sunk farther down. My arms floated loosely at my sides as two small bubbles escaped my nostrils…then a steady stream of them.
This was it. At only twelve years old, I was going to die.
I resisted as long as I could, that breath of death. There was still a chance that any minute now someone would notice I was no longer in the boat and pull me back in. Any minute now. Any second. I didn’t have a minute.
Right at the moment my lungs overrode my brain and sucked in – that’s when I saw it. The monster. With shiny scales that went on and on forever over a massive serpentine form, it slithered through the murk like an enormous eel, its glowing eyes fixed determinedly on me.
I didn’t panic. I couldn’t. My eyes drooped and my mind shut down.
The next thing I knew, I was back on the boat’s deck vomiting nasty lake water all over myself. Everything hurt – my ribs, my chest, my throat. Everything. My dad and the crusty old captain hovered over me.
“Jesus Christ,” my old man snapped. “Don’t tell your mother, or she’ll never let you out of the house again.” Then, as an afterthought, “You all right?”
I sat up and leaned over the side, choking and spluttering, and searched the depths for any sign of that thing I saw, whatever it was. But it was long gone.
When we got back to the house, my mother, seeing my soaked clothes and listening to my raspy voice, guessed what happened before Dad and I had a chance to lie about it. She went into hysterics and insisted on rushing me to the small clinic in town, abandoning our supper on the table to gelatinize. I wasn’t too upset about it. Her trout stew was legendary for its inedibility.
I checked out just fine with nothing more than a wheezy cough and some bruising from the chest pumping the Captain had provided. Mom blamed Dad for the incident, and Dad blamed me. He always did. In all fairness, I shouldn’t have leaned so far over the side to stick my hand in the water when I didn’t know how to swim. You would have thought, however, the splash I made tumbling in would have alerted my dad and the Captain to my whereabouts. But it wasn’t a fishing trip without cold beer, and the two of them had partaken in far too much of it.
I hadn’t wanted to go fishing. The thought of impaling an innocent creature on a barbed hook for sport bothered me. But Dad said fishing was a man kind of thing to do, and I was going with him whether I liked it or not. He was always saying I should do more manly things, rather than moping around reading books and writing in my “diary.”
“It’s a journal,” I corrected once. “A travel journal.”
“Put a prissy little lock on it and it’s a diary. That’s the only difference.”
I asked him how the hell he would know, and he backhanded me for my sass. I only wrote in secret after that.
That night, I lay awake staring out my open window at the moon – a glowing eye glaring back at me, like the eyes of the thing in the lake. The monster. Of course, it had been a hallucination – a trick of my oxygen deprived brain. That’s what the doctor said when, still half delirious from the ordeal, I told him about it.
I slipped my hand under my mattress and retrieved my notebook, pen, and flashlight. Maybe writing down what I saw would help me sleep. It would look ridiculous once I had it on paper, and then I could put it out of my mind. I pulled the blanket over my head, forming a tent, and wrote. Sure enough, once it was there in front of me, it looked silly. Monster? It was an eel, of course. It appeared large because of the way water magnifies things. Or maybe it was a school of fish. Or nothing. I’d been seeing things, just like the doctor said, because I'd been dying.
I'd almost died!
Odd, but it didn’t truly hit me until then, several hours after it happened. That feeling of resignation as I realized my last breath was going to kill me, and I was going to take it anyway – it came back to me, and I started to hyperventilate. Then I cried. Then I felt stupid for crying, because men don't cry. Not according to my dad.
And it was stuffy under this stupid blanket.
I yanked it off my head and turned to glare at the stupid monster-eye moon, but my view was blocked. My breath hitched and my tears immediately stopped. There in the window, a young girl stared, wide-eyed, back at me. Her porcelain features were made grotesque as I turned the beam of my flashlight on her. She flinched and raised a hand to block it before darting away.
“Wait!” I called, forgetting to check my voice. Fortunately, no one woke. In a moment the face was back, and I could see now that her bobbed hair was wet and plastered down along her jaw.
Concerned, I lifted the sash and climbed out to meet her.
“Sorry I startled you. Has there been an accident?” I asked, glancing towards the lake. “Is everything all right?”
She lifted her chin and scrutinized me. Her eyes sparkled, reflecting the moonlight.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m Maisie.”
“I’m Patrick. What are you doing out here?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. Curious, I guess.”
“Huh. Do you, uh, often swim at night?” I indicated her bathing suit. It was odd – dated – with a fine skirt attached, like that of a ballerina.
“Sure, all the time.”
“Really? Well, I don’t swim at all. I’m not really used to the water.”
“Nothing wrong with the water, so long as you respect it,” she said. “Don’t you have someone who could teach you? What about your pop?”
“Nah. He doesn’t have the patience. Just expects me to know how to do everything right off the bat.”
Like the time he got me my first bike. He set me on it without any instructions and let go. I got a little ways down the block, but fell over and hit my head on the pavement when I tried to turn around. The bike collected cobwebs in the garage ever since. I preferred to walk.
Maisie sighed. “I guess I’ll have to teach you then. Go get your bathing suit.”
She looked at me like I was an idiot. “Yeah, now.”
I hesitated. Going back in the water again so soon after nearly being killed by it was not a pleasant thought. But there was something peculiar about this girl that drew me to her like a gnat is drawn to honey. If I refused, she might leave, and I didn’t want her to. Besides, when a pretty girl comes to your window in the middle of the night and orders you to go swimming with her, you do it.
And this was the perfect time to learn, I thought as I climbed back in my window to change. At night there’d be no one around to witness my humiliation as I splashed and flailed in the water like a jerk. It didn’t occur to me to be embarrassed in front of Maisie. She was odd enough on her own.
“So where are we going? Your folks got a pool?” I asked.
She gave me another funny look and pointed towards the lake. “Plenty of water right here, don'tcha think?”
“The lake? But what about–?” I stopped myself before I could utter the ridiculous. Ridiculous, but still not completely dispelled from my mind.
She laughed, and the music of it set me right at ease again. “Come on. I won’t let it get ya.” She grabbed my hand, sending a queer little thrill up my arm that I rather liked, and pulled me down the grassy bank to our dock. There was no getting out of it now and, strangely enough, that was okay with me.
Maisie was a great swimming instructor – very patient and methodical – and soon I had the basics down. By the end of the night, I was even scooting along underwater without much hesitation. We swam and laughed until the sky turned from black to navy.
“Wow. Time flies when you’re having fun,” I said as we climbed back up onto the dock.
Her laughter died down, and she grew very serious. “I haven’t had so much fun in such a long time.”
“Me neither,” I said. I meant it.
She turned to the moon, which was low in the sky now, touching the tips of the trees. For a minute, she looked a little sad. But then, without warning, she leaned and planted a peck on my cheek.
“I gotta go," she said and hopped back into the water.
“You’re going to swim back?” I asked, incredulous.
“Will I see you later?”
She dove under and bobbed back up farther down the shore. I wanted to stay and watch her safely back, but there was something about the way she waved at me, like she was gesturing me away, that made me think better of it. I trudged back up the slope and climbed through my window. I’d never felt so exhausted in my life. As soon as I’d toweled off and changed back into my pajamas, I collapsed on my bed and passed out.
I’d been at the table a full ten minutes before my dad looked up from his paper. “Criminy. You look like something the cat dragged in.”
“We don’t have a cat,” I said.
Mom brought a second helping of pancakes to the table and placed it in front of my dad, who was glowering over my response. He probably would have done something about it if he’d finished his coffee first.
“He almost drowned yesterday, Chet.” Mom sat down, sweeping her skirt daintily under her as she made contact with the chair. She pointed at my plate with her fork. “You’ve hardly eaten a thing! You need to get your strength back.”
I resisted rolling my eyes and pretended to pick at the rubbery slabs smothered in syrup.
“Get his strength back? It was a dunk in the lake, not measles.”
“He almost died! I told you not to make him go out on that rickety, old boat with that negligent drunkard.”
Dad slowly re-lowered his paper, puffing himself up for an argument, but I got up from the table, interrupting him before he could start.
“Where do you think you’re going, young man?” My mother fixed me with her do-what-I-say-or-else stare, which she used often despite the fact that it never worked.
“For a walk. I’m not hungry.”
“Absolutely not! You’re resting today.”
“Ma, I’m fine!”
She stood up and started around the table to sit me back down. “Patrick Chester Lasmer! You are not fine. Your voice is still hoarse.”
“It’s cracking, Marge. He’s twelve for Chris’sake. Stop coddling the boy and let him go if he wants.”
Mom sat down in a huff and shoved a forkful of pancake in her mouth. That was her signal that we were getting the silent treatment – not so much of a punishment as she thought. Dad shook his head and raised his paper again, and I left with relief.
I hoped to run into Maisie. She must have been staying nearby, though there weren’t many houses along our stretch of the lake. It was also early in the season, and I was fairly certain not all the lakefront houses had summer residents yet. We’d only arrived ourselves a few days before.
I strolled up and down the shore until I got bored and moved on to town. I didn’t have any luck finding Maisie there either, but I did have an odd encounter that, though I didn’t realize it at the time, was about to set the momentum for the rest of my vacation.
I turned to see a wiry man in a fedora jogging towards me on the sidewalk. He had a boxy leather case hanging from his shoulder with a buckle-strap, and he kept a tight grip on it as he moved so as not to jostle whatever it held.
When he reached me, huffing and puffing, he gave my hand a hearty shake. “I’m Ned Darrington,” he said, “I was wondering if I might have a word with you.”
He fell into step alongside me and struck up a conversation, though I had yet to confirm that he could, indeed, have a word. “I heard about your accident yesterday.”
I groaned. Of course the news had gotten out already. That was how small towns worked, wasn’t it? I knew then that my chance of making friends that summer – besides Maisie of course – was zilch. Who’d want to be seen with the nerdy bookworm who couldn’t even dog paddle? Little did they know, I actually could dog paddle now, thanks to Maisie, and I felt a surge of pride over the secret.
“Glad to see you’re up and about,” Mr. Darrington continued. “I was hoping I’d run into you.”
Pressing a hand to my back, he led me into the local café. “You hungry? No? Well I’m hungry.”
He had that look about him that told me I could try to walk away, but that he’d only follow me home like a stray puppy that had chosen me as its new best friend. So against my better judgment, I went along with it. I even ordered some fries because he insisted it was on him.
“I heard you saw something interesting in the lake.”
I almost choked on my French fry. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
He leaned in, his voice low. “It’s okay. I believe you. You’re afraid everyone will think you’ve gone funny in the head, right? But I know for a fact – an absolute fact – that what you saw…was real.”
I couldn’t tell if he was pulling one over on me or what, but the truth was, I still hadn’t completely convinced myself that the monster was a figment of my imagination. I thought I had the night before, after writing about it. I thought so again after swimming in the lake without incident. But I woke up that morning in the middle of a serpent-filled dream, and while walking along the shore earlier, I’d felt a few times like it was watching me. It was quite possible that I was, indeed, going funny in the head.
The Captain chose that moment to saunter in. Without invitation, he slid into the booth next to Mr. Darrington and placed both hands on the table with a smack.
“You saw it, din’ you? I know you did.”
There was no need to ask what he meant by “it.” I opened my mouth and let my jaw hang slack. That was enough of an admission for him.
He clapped his hands and rubbed them together. “I knew it! Every near-drownin’ victim’s seen it. Every damn one.”
I gulped. “All of them? What about the ones that really do drown?”
“Well I s’pose there’s no way of knowin’ that, is there? But they must’ve. It’s what gets them, after all.”
“That hasn’t happened for thirty years,” Mr. Darrington butt in.
“Which means it’s gettin’ desperate.” He slapped Mr. Darrington on the back, who winced. “But Ned here has a plan, don’t ya?”
When I saw Maisie again that night, I told her all about Ned’s plan. “He’s working on a special camera case that won’t let the water in, and we’re going to take it in the lake and get pictures! Then we’ll have proof.”
Maisie put her hands on her hips. “Seems like a silly idea to me. And sad.”
“Why? I know what I saw. It was real. Mr. Darrington says lots of lakes have them. He’s even been to Scotland and saw the Loch Ness Monster with his own eyes. He’s writing a book about them and everything.”
“He sounds like a phony,” she said, and changed the subject.
A few uneventful days went by. There was nothing to do in town and no kids my age to make trouble with. It was a boring vacation spot, and the only reason we were even there that summer was because my dad had won the house in a poker game. I was told, however, that things would pick up in a week or so when boating season started.
I stayed inside for the most part and read. Dad, ever restless, disappeared into town each day and came back in time for supper smelling of bourbon and cigars. One night he came back with a fistful of money and announced that tomorrow he’d take us all out to dinner. But he lost the money the next day, so that was the end of that.
Mom fiddled around the house, tidying and cleaning, a stereo-typical housewife like she saw in the magazines – pictures of perfection that didn’t really exist. That was all she wanted, for life to be perfect. But it wasn’t, so she compensated by trying to make it look that way, spackling and painting over life’s flaws while it rotted away underneath. I suppose it was the same reason Dad gambled and I read books so much. My escape was fantasy. Hers involved organized cupboards and starch-pressed collars. I stayed out of her way. The way she fluttered about nervously trying to fix up the – in her words – “filthy, run-down shack,” drove me crazy.
Maisie was that summer’s saving grace, but she only came around at night. When I asked her about it, she looked embarrassed and told me she had a condition.
“Are you allergic to the sun?” I’d read a magazine article once about a set of twins who had a sun allergy so severe that they had to stay indoors all day.
“I guess you could say that. Anyway, I like it at night. There’s no one around to bother you, and you can go wherever you want.”
There was also the looming excitement of the upcoming monster hunt with Mr. Darrington. Somehow, the photographer even convinced my dad to come. Dad thought the entire thing was “cockamamie” and delighted in telling me this often, but Mr. Darrington’s enthusiasm was contagious, and soon we were all discussing plans.
Maisie was the only one who remained disinterested. The night before the hunt, I brought it up again. “Why don’t you come with us?” I asked.
“I can’t be in the sun, remember?”
“It’s supposed to be cloudy tomorrow.”
“It’s supposed to be stormy tomorrow,” she corrected. “You shouldn’t go out on the water.”
“Mr. Darrington thinks the storm will draw it out.”
“Mr. Darrington’s full of it.” She looked with concern at the clouds that were already rolling in, blotting out patches of stars. “I need to get back.”
“Come on. Don’t be like that.”
“You should get some sleep,” she said and swam away.
The next afternoon found me on the Captain’s rickety sailboat trying not to lose my lunch. Suspended over the side on a pole was the camera in its waterproof case. A cable ran from it back up to the boat. A button on the end controlled the camera shutter.
The entire rig was tossed around by the waves so much that I doubted we would get any clear pictures, but Mr. Darrington insisted it would be fine. “It’s a high-speed camera, like the kind used for sporting events. The motion shouldn’t be a problem.”
“How are we going to know if it’s around?” It hadn’t occurred to me before to ask what his plan was to entice the creature to the boat.
“Oh, it should be near. We’re the only boat on the water, and with the danger of the storm, the temptation of a possible victim will be too much.”
“Yes, but how will we know the camera’s pointed in the right direction? Or at the right depth?”
“Well, that’s where you come in,” he said, a dangerous glint in his eye.
I realized then why he needed me so much. The boy who couldn’t swim – as far as he knew – would be the bait.
“Now wait just a minute!” My dad’s face turned a shade of purple I’d never seen before. “If you think you’re putting my son at risk for this, you have another think coming.”
“He’ll be perfectly safe. I have a tether. See?” Mr. Darrington held up a harness attached to a long rope, the end of which he clipped to the boat. He tossed me the harness, but there was no way I was putting it on. I looked to the Captain who was gripping the rigging with one hand and holding a flask with the other. Good Lord, what had I been thinking?
“That’s the most asinine thing I ever heard.” My dad grabbed the harness and threw it back.
Mr. Darrington stood up. Dad stood up. The boat rocked. And the Captain, surprised out of his drunken stupor, let go of the rigging. The yardarm whipped around and caught my dad on the back. It knocked the wind out of him and sent him tumbling over the side into the turbulent water. He disappeared immediately.
“Dad!” I screamed.
I didn’t think. I didn’t look to see what anyone else was going to do about it. I simply filled my lungs with air and jumped in after him. My dad would have said it was the man in me finally coming out. I say it was instinct. It didn’t occur to me until after I was in the water that, though Maisie had taught me well, I still didn’t swim well enough to pull a full grown man out of the water.
It took a few splashes to the surface and dives before I spotted him. My heart stopped. The monster had spotted him too.
It snaked its way towards him, its glowing eyes sinister beams, lighting its path. Its frill rippled like tattered lace as it picked up speed. I couldn’t see the end of it. Its length stretched beyond the obscurity of the cloudy lake.
Fear struck me immobile, and again, I was drowning, dying. Only this time I was watching from afar, and it wasn’t me who was drowning, but my father. The monster was going to make sure of that.
Spurred by this thought, I rose for another gulp of air and plunged back down towards my dad. The monster already had its long, sleek body wrapped around him. I tugged on it and pulled. I beat on it with my fists, and in response, it ensnared me too. Then the strangest thing happened. Instead of dragging us down into the deep, it lifted us up.
Together we rose, our heads barely breaking the water's surface. I gulped in precious air as the monster skimmed along, just underneath, speeding us back to the boat. As the arms of Mr. Darrington and the Captain grabbed us, the monster released its coils and disappeared below.
“I got it! I’m sure I got some shots!” Mr. Darrington was practically dancing as the Captain and I fussed over my dad, who was unconscious, but breathing.
“We need to get him back to sh–” The boat lurched, knocking the rest of the word out of me. Pulled by the lake monster, we tore full speed back to the dock.
“Amazing! Amazing!” Mr. Darrington snatched up the camera’s shutter cable and pressed the button a few times before I knocked it out of his hand. From the look on his face, you would have thought I’d punched him.
By the time we neared the dock, the wind and rain had died down significantly. The sky was dark now, the moonlight faint behind a veil of thinning clouds. When the boat slowed, left to glide on its own, I leaned over the side as far as I could. I wanted to see it again – the so-called monster that had saved our lives.
It knew. It lifted its head above the surface, and suddenly those lamp-like eyes didn’t look so scary anymore. They were beacons, showing us the way to safety. I now understood why there hadn’t been a death in the water for thirty years. It wouldn’t allow it.
She wouldn’t allow it.
It was quick. So quick that at first I thought I’d imagined it. For a split second, the clouds broke, allowing the full strength of the moon to shine through. Before me, treading water, was Maisie.
She smiled and ducked below again. Then she was gone.
Mr. Darrington came to visit the next day. I was hanging out on the dock while my dad rested and my mom scurried around the house, packing up everything except what we would need for the morning. She’d almost lost both a husband and a son to what she called “this cursed lake,” and she refused to stay a day longer.
“Hey kid.” Mr. Darrington’s voice made me jump, but I didn’t turn to look. He was the last person I wanted to see.
“I thought you might be interested in what the camera picked up,” he said and sat down next to me on the dock.
I wasn’t. I felt like we’d betrayed her, making a spectacle of the “monster in the lake,” who was more an angel than anything else. I felt sick knowing her pictures would end up in his book, demonizing her, turning her into some kind of freak show.
But then he handed me a photo. A single photo. It wasn’t a twisting serpent, or a blur of scales, or even those shining eyes. It was a young girl in a ballerina bathing costume, her skirt flowing, glowing in the moonlight. Half of her face was hidden above the water, but there was no mistaking her.
“Maisie.” I held onto it greedily.
“There were other pictures,” he said, “in her other…form. I burned them. The negatives too. I kept this one though. Thought you might want it.”
“You’re joking.” After all that work, I couldn’t believe it.
“It didn’t seem right to keep them. Not when I saw this.”
“So you’re giving up on your book? And your camera?”
“Eh. Maybe I’ll make a picture book about fish.” He winked and stood up. “It was nice knowin’ ya kid.” And with that, he left.
That night, Maisie came to say goodbye. That’s when I learned her story.
It was a warm summer afternoon in 1925 when Maisie and her sister Rosie ran into trouble on the lake. At their request, their mother had sewn tulle skirts to their bathing costumes so they could play Fair Damsels. The rowboat was their royal barge. They were new to the area, and though they’d heard tales of the monster in the lake, they didn’t believe them. Their father said it was a silly rationale to explain away accidents caused by carelessness.
Maisie and Rosie were good swimmers. Their father had taught them himself. He’d always told them that as long as they respected the water, it would respect them.
They’d drifted to the middle of the lake when the water began to churn. The boat rocked, and Rosie tumbled overboard. When she didn’t resurface, Maisie went in after her and was met with a terrifying scene. Scaly silver coils were wrapped tight around little Rosie, squeezing her breath away. A serpentine head twisted around to face Maisie, its evil eyes boring into her mind.
I have to, Maisie heard in her head. She will take my place so I can be human again.
No, Maisie thought. Let her go! Take me instead!
Not Rosie. Not little Rosie.
The monster loosened its grip and pushed Rosie to the surface. Maisie tried to swim away, realizing too late the gravity of the deal she’d made, but the monster was quick. It took her and it held her until all of her breath was gone. Maisie drowned. Then she became the monster.
“It’s hard not to give in and do what it takes to escape the curse. I was slow to get to you, and I’m ashamed that part of me wanted to stop and let you drown. But I couldn’t do it. I won’t ever do it. I chose this life to protect my sister, and I’ll continue to protect others from becoming like me. Besides,” she said, clasping her small hand in mine, “I’d never have got to know you.”
I never saw her again. My family kept the house and rented it out to vacationers, but we never returned to the lake while I was growing up. I’ve often thought about going back as an adult. I know my family would be safe with Maisie there. But it doesn’t seem right somehow. I suppose I’m afraid that returning now will break the spell of that magic summer - the summer that Maisie showed me what true courage is. The summer I learned what it really means to be a man.
Follow Megan on twitter: @MeganPaasch
Read her blog here: meganpaasch.wordpress.com