a walking tour

Megan took me for a walk behind her new house, down into the woods by a deer-trail which went all the way to the river, and she stopped by a bush with large green berries, and she picked a few and told me to open my mouth. I said, what are they? and she said they're Meganberries. I took a few into my mouth, and they were tasty, sour, and juicy. That's amazing, I said, that they're called Meganberries, as they're just like you, and she gave me a lopsided smile, trying to figure out if I was kidding.

Megan's father spent three years in prison when she was a little girl. I am not exactly sure what the charge was, I know she told me but I wasn't paying attention, which seems incredible as this is a topic of great interest, her parents, as she says and does certain things once in a while that make me think pieces of the collected background my friends all share never got to her, not even like she comes from another country but from another time, and I wonder sometimes if this is in fact not a random chance but something she does deliberately, an affectation, which helps the people she meets to excuse other of her eccentricities, and I think that if I were to meet her parents that this would become clear, if it is a real thing or a falsified thing (which has perhaps become real over time, the way that I tell people I used to have a dog), but still I wan't paying attention, perhaps I thought she was going to leave me, but I do believe her father was a nonviolent offender, perhaps an embezzeler, but for three years once a week Megan and her father would write to each other, continuing the stories they had begun when she was even younger, just before she fell asleep at night, but while she would write a letter and forget about it her father would continue to write the stories in journals he kept for himself, sending her specific passages he thought she would find funny or charming, and Megan had read this unexpurgated collection of spiral notebooks years later, after she returned from her third year of college, and she told me about these stories as well, this endless collection of plots and subplots and conflicts and strange landscapes and creatures described in immaculate detail and travels through time, but of this I can barely remember anything at all, except that her father had written both Megan and himself into the story, wherein Megan was called Jenny Pearl Sherbet and he was called The Hero Of Last Resort.

Megan was worried about her daughter Jasmine, who was eight, and had taken on a defeatist attitude about practically everything. Megan first noticed this after picking Jasmine up from school and asking how her day had been, only to hear her speak about how she was going to be nine soon, so much wasted time, so many things still undone, the best years of her life behind her. Megan considered this a mood, or perhaps something Jasmine had heard on television, and didn't think too much of it, and while Jasmine was not unhappy, and in most ways acted as she always had, she would occasionally sigh and consider all that was now lost to her. I thought this was hilarous, and Megan told me that my laughing at something like this is just another perfect example of why I hadn't yet met her. The first time I did meet her, that first weekend at the new house, Megan introduced us and I asked Jasmine how she was doing, and she told me things were as well as could be expected, and I said yeah, there's only so much we can do with all these worries and failed hopes filling what little light remains before the inevitable call of the grave. Megan shook her head, and Jasmine stared at me for a second, sizing me up, and said worries? I got worries. Dealing with children is a lot easier than I thought when I was younger.

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