An Only Child

by Cara Grill

When I was 13, my best friend was a life-sized Barbie doll, perfect and blonde and sweetly naïve. I protected her from the ugly things, the horny boys, the middle-school intrigues, the older, tougher girls. When I moved away, I worried that maybe I’d sheltered her too much. A few years later I heard she had been killed by a drunk driver; she was 6 months pregnant at the time, too young to even get married. The friend who called to tell me the news sighed when she was done and said “Maybe it was for the best after all.” If I could have reached through the phone and murdered her, I would have.


Cara Grill lives in Seattle, has Superman pajamas, and once taught her cat how to use the toilet.