It had to be the appearance of the gun that sent her to the divorce attorney, because, let’s face it, guns were never her kind of thing. Even though he waved it in her face, pointed it at her, touched the muzzle to her chest, and threatened to shoot himself with it, too, she survived that night.

It’s just as likely he killed her anyway.

How does one ever recover from knowing she could’ve died? From seeing fleeting television images of those scary crimes of passion, the ones where multiple black body bags are carried from some bland ranch structure or ritzy mansion while the reporter drones on in the foreground, wondering how it all happened, pointing the camera in stricken faces and asking the extended family how they feel? She knew how it happened, in a freak series of rash actions and shouted words that culminated in something final.

For a while, she forgot to feel anything.

Marriage was supposed to be…..what exactly? The ultimate state of bliss? The natural order of things? The rest of one’s life with a good, caring person? The best path to have children? The thing she was expected to do next? She was still too young to really define it for herself, but her little-girl fantasies and teenage dreams never included hell on earth.

Hell wasn’t what graced her eyes the first time she saw him. The One. He was everything – EVERYTHING – she had been trained to seek in a mate. She still had her list, the one she made when she was sixteen or seventeen, taped between the pages of her Bible. When she pulled out the worn paper and held it up next to him, she thought she’d drawn his picture. Marrying him was the most natural thing she’d ever done.

The natural things were the things she tried to remember when he called her a tumbling fury of Very Bad Words, when maybe all she said was I don’t want to have that for supper or  I’m not ready to have people over or it’s too soon to have children. She never knew what might unleash the barrage of words she never really knew before she said I do. Through the haze of comment boxes that poured forth, obscuring his face, she tried to imagine the natural things, the secret smiles, the thrill of falling in love. Those comment boxes were pointy, though. They had gouging tips and sharp edges, could hack away pieces of her spirit until she recognized nothing but smoke and air, fog and mist, all things with no form, no surface, no shape of self to which to cling.

Sometimes, she thought it
might be better if he just hit her.

Shoving and screaming and driving the car really fast while pulling her hair didn’t seem to give him the release he craved. She locked herself in the bathroom, stared at herself in the mirror, made empty deals with herself. He said that was the last time. He promised not to do it again. Who are you?

How did you ever wind up here?

A child was the ultimate weapon, the thing he knew would irrevocably control her, filaments that would snake from the tips of its fingers and toes. Those invisible fibers would wrap around her, consume her, while he watched from above, holding the wooden paddles attached to the strings. Succumbing would’ve been so easy, especially since she couldn’t remember all the little pieces of herself he’d already sheared away, scattered rubble that no longer fit together.

Guns and children. Children and guns. An explosive combination she recalled just in the knick of time. Tick. Tick. Tick…..



#1000Speak is an online initiative to incite compassion for people who are blindsided by unfortunate circumstances, prickly outcomes and untenable situations.

Today, thousands of people worldwide are writing about bullying. We hope to stick a face to the term, a countenance readers recognize, because these stories are shared by people you know.

Because maybe……sometimes……knowing someone who’s experienced something horrific humanizes it. The victims are no longer reality television stars, shouted questions and sirens on the evening news, vacant eyes staring through pixels on a computer screen.

And seeing people who’ve navigated bullying and survived?


May we inspire other victims to take charge, to flee, to seek help.

Just like a twenty-six-year-old girl did years ago when she stared down the barrel of a gun and finally said


That girl was me.

To find out more about 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, click HERE.

To submit your own story for the Building from Bullying theme, read Lizzi’s post HERE.


he wants to ride it

He climbed on it. Again. He wants to ride it All. The. Time.

While I despair. Steroid withdrawal has transformed me into a chronically fatigued version of Cruella Deville. Unspeakable thoughts stream from both mouth and fingers. If I’m not pimping books, I’m most likely ANGRY and in bed.

He wants to ride it anyway.

Bitchy thoughts diatribes don’t deter him. No shower for three days, because it’s too much freaking effort? He doesn’t care. When I draw the curtains, light candles and cocoon, he takes it as an invitation. To ride. And RIDE. AND RIDE.

I try to sleep through it. Because really, what else can I do? He’s oblivious. Determined even. He pumps and thrashes, brakes and grinds whatever my precarious state of mind.

Will MTM ever tire of his bike, now that he’s cleared to ride? I may never stop worrying, but I sure do hope I can find myself in the brain-fogged haze and exhaustion prednisone left in its wake.


It’s criminal to complain about how I feel, given that I’m blessed with overall good health. I wasn’t prepared for the steroid aftermath. I’ve always been hormonally challenged. I should’ve known taking a drug that screws with my hormones would Cruella me. 


I’m not accustomed to almost constant super-charged PMS……….Which is what this feels like……….Don’t worry about me………..But please send your kind thoughts and well wishes to poor MTM. No wonder he wants to ride it all the time.

And speaking of TIRED………

city lit books

I’m in Chicago from 10 – 13 March. Three appearances only. Penny O’Neill gets my remaining time. She’s putting me up for the duration. I’m energized at the thought of giving her a hug.

If you’re in the Chicago area,
please stop by City Lit Books.
March 12. 6:30 – 7:30pm.

I’d love to meet you, to hear your stories and to inspire you to Make a Memory!



andra watkins feedback

Dear Readers, it’s been a couple of months since the new andrawatkins.com launched. I couldn’t be happier with my new online home. It’s clean. Visual. Easy on the backend. Something I’m proud to see promoted and shared.

I really need your feedback.

What’s this new experience like for YOU, the user?

  • COMMENTS – Is it easy to leave a comment from any device? What logon information are you required to provide? If you’re seeing multiple logon steps, does that preclude you from commenting? Have you had logon crashes or been unable to leave a comment? Any other comment-related concerns?
  • FACEBOOK COMMENTS – I activated Facebook comments to give you another interaction choice. Please know that I don’t see Facebook comments like I see main site commentary. I don’t get notifications that you’ve commented via Facebook very often, and I’m usually surprised when I go back to older posts and see additional comments there. How’s your Facebook comment experience? Can you see your comments in your news feeds or on your pages? Can you easily access replies directly from Facebook? Do you like the experience, or would you prefer fewer comment options?
  • CONTENT – While my content has changed, my approach to being here remains the same: I want to engage with you, read your comments and maintain a connection. If you’d like to see more engaging types of posts, additional variety or anything else here, please let me know. I’ll be working on my April content calendar soon, and I’d like to incorporate your feedback.
  • POSTING FREQUENCY - I post on weekdays and take weekends off. I write and schedule my posts for an entire month to leave time for other things. Am I posting too much? Too little? Just right?
  • WORDPRESS.COM READER - Are you seeing my posts in your WordPress.com reader? A couple of readers indicated they saw them there following site launch, but I want to make sure that connection is working.

Your time is crowded with demands you can’t meet in a lifetime. I appreciate the time you give me.