I watch Forensic Files and pretend the reason we’re finished is you’re a teenage girl and your ex-boyfriend, with your best friend, gives you a ride home from the convenience store the night you disappear.
In another episode you’re an office manager a brown-eyed doctor impregnates before proposing to you.
I blubber my love in grainy interrogation videos. I describe your lobster tattoo to detectives, the flex of shoulder muscles as you blow-dry your hair.
The ex-boyfriend says he’ll only love you if you have a threesome with him and your best friend.
In Key West, you say yes to the doctor’s proposal and get so sick that you vomit, diarrhea, and spot blood. The baby’s heartbeat is fine.
The three of you stop at a hardware store, where your ex buys a hatchet, a saw, and lighter fluid.
Your twin sister notices you get sick whenever you’re alone with the doctor boyfriend.
You disappear for two years while your best friend and your ex sell drugs.
You hide a camera and invite the doctor for dinner. On video, he puts something in your drink that you pour into a bottle and take to the police. Some underpaid labcoat knows Cytotec has the side effect of miscarriage.
I confess: I wish we’d had a baby while we were still children ourselves. One with your green eyes and my floppy earlobes. A baby to refocus us and seal the many cracks.
The police place another camera inside a ceramic carousel of sad clowns. You invite the doctor over to poison you again.
Your best friend admits he took you to his grandparents’ house where he and your ex did things so horrible to you they scrubbed the shower and floors for two days.
The police arrest the doctor and find a stash of Cytotec in his trunk.
You want to get on with life and believe the good outweighs the bad. Not everyone is a homicidal narcissist who tells police, “I just wanted to eliminate the problem,” without indicating whether the problem was the baby or you.
It takes a forensics team to find a tiny blood spot on the best friend’s grandparents’ wallpaper and your two-years-gone bone fragments in the sump pump and fire pit.
Forensics can’t clear me of withholding love, the way my heart threw its anchor and you said, You’re so stuck. It drove you into the arms of killers.
We pass the stillborn baby around and call her name, celebrate her birthday for hours, saying hello, saying goodbye, the baby fine until she wasn’t, knowing who’s to blame, knowing by god in heaven who’ll be judged.
Max Hipp’s work has appeared in Cheap Pop, SmokeLong Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, and other fine journals. He’s a writer, teacher, and musician from Mississippi with a story collection in the works. Holler on Twittter: @maximumevil.