And When the Boat Goes Down by Jennifer Todhunter

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All I can think is, this water isn’t bad, not cold not hot, the reeds, they don’t bother me, they’re like ribbons on the ballet shoes I wore as a girl, the pink satin wrapped around my ankles and calves, and I consider twirling on this transom, giving the ocean a show while it tries to take what hasn’t already been taken.

In the morning, I return to the dock, the fog not yet lifted, the squeak of weather-worn boards greeting me like they greeted us when we brought morning coffee to watch the sunrise or wine to watch the whales breaching. I loved the feeling of the salted wood against my back, the jut of your hip against mine.

The boat isn’t there in the morning, and I remember it sinking, the mast laying flat against the churning water before turtling into the murky depths, the way I tried to save it and myself, the drag of my clothing, my jeans, my shoes water-logged and weighted. It’s a similar feeling to waking and remembering you’re gone. Remembering I asked you to leave.


Jennifer Todhunter’s stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Necessary Fiction, The Forge, and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for Best Small Fictions, Best Microfictions, and Wigleaf´s Top 50 Very Short Fictions. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pidgeonholes. Find her at or @JenTod_.

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