When the tide is out, this whole dumb town smells like dead fish. When I say that to my mom, she agrees. Well, not about the dumb town part—about the dead fish. She inhales deeply and says, “Don’t you just love it, Alma?
No, I don’t love it.
I don’t love it at all.
We moved here to have more space. Back home, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment. When the pandemic started, my mom’s friend offered us her seaside cottage. It’s one of those houses that sits up on 10-foot stilts so ocean water can flow underneath. The original plan was to stay for a few months, maybe through the summer. But school is still online and Mom’s still working remotely, so now—almost winter—we’re still here.
Meanwhile, I’ve been off Instagram since Daniel’s birthday. My friends back home put signs on their cars and had their parents drive them by his house in a caravan, honking and cheering. I mailed him chocolate chip cookies, his favorite; he didn’t even post a photo of them. After that, when I looked at everyone’s feeds, I felt as though I’d drifted out to sea and no one noticed.