Just Ahead

Everything was unwieldy when I was fifteen. That summer I squeezed into a size 14 swimsuit, amazed that all this was me. My suit was yellow. I spent all day in it, canoeing badly across lakes in Canada. The boy I loved paddled always just ahead. At night I snuck with him between bushes, smoking stale cigarettes, never touching. Was it my new size? The color of my suit? Was it the way I whined during portages? We watched a moose in the water once, our breath held in simultaneous wonder, and it was the closest I came to confession.

Johanna Stoberock’s novel, City of Ghosts, was published by W.W. Norton. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Eclipse, Copper Nickle, and the Wilson Quarterly, among other publications. 

Photo credit: Kate Farnady


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