Excerpt from “Here and Back Again,” one of my stories in the upcoming collection, Girl Fever.
The ferry goes from the island to the bay twice a day. I ride it to work a couple of mornings a week.
Annie rides it too. Not to work, not to anything. She just rides out to the bay and then back to the island. I’d like to think she’s riding it for me but I know that she was riding it long before she ever met me.
I met Annie at the little library on the island, where we were both looking up books on suicide by diet. Namely, how to bake ourselves to death with too much butter and too much sugar and not enough vegetables. It’s the sweeter, tastier version of putting your head in the oven. We both put our hands on Pastries and Pies: Full Flavor, Full Fat at the same time. I thought she might fight me for it, but she offered it up to me instead. We laughed it off. But dying housewives can always spot each other. It’s in the too-easy laugh, the slightly haunted look in our eyes, that bit of gathered fat around the midsection.
Annie’s got blonde-red hair, full of wild curls that whip in the salt wind. Her sunglasses are too big for her face but they’re not so dark that they hide her green-green eyes. Or the circles under them. She smokes—not at home, she says, just on the ferry—rolling her own cigarettes on the deck, not even noticing all the tobacco that floats away.
I sit with her outside on the front of the ferry, watching the waves splash up and get left behind, watching the island fall away and the mainland come closer, sipping my black coffee—burnt and astringent, but it keeps the cold out of my mouth. It’s nearly an hour out and another back.
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.