Laminated Heart


Waves lapped against the ferry. Alli stood at the railing, taking in the spray, watching the silver ocean. The island in the distance, loomed like a turtle’s shell, materializing out of the mist.

The ferry was unusually packed this Sunday. Most people were inside the cabin, enduring the swaying boat. The boat reached the docks of the island. Main Street stretched into the distance, but most of the land was shrouded in thick, black forest, ancient pines.

Alli stepped off the boat and headed down the metal ramp. It was a cloudy day in Maine. Around the Main Street was the usual assortment of shops: ice cream parlor, Starbucks, arts and crafts cubby hole, record store. Alli walked down the sidewalk, toward the woods and the mountains.

Once on the trail, she could breathe in the scent of the trees. Early morning frost still hung in the air. Fog still circled the peaks. Mushrooms were everywhere in the soggy soil.

Alli hiked the path. Pine needles dusted the dirt. Squirrels ran through the nettles. She finally looked up and saw where she was headed: a nondescript cabin, with a wisp of smoke rising from the chimney.

Climbing the stone steps, Alli found herself at the oaken door. She lifted the iron knocker, only to let go of it as Kaan yanked open the door. Kaan wore a cashmere sweater and jeans; she ushered Alli in.

Kaan had made scrambled eggs and toast. She took Alli’s coat. They sat at the table, replete with spindly legs, in the breakfast nook facing the valley. Everything was still; even the birds were quiet.

They sipped the coffee, inhaling the flowery scent of fresh logs burning in the wood stove.

“Will you ever move back?” Alli asked.

“No,” Kaan said.

Alli looked out the bay window, “You could find a lot of inspiration out here.”

“I’ve tried to write a novel many times,” Kaan said, “I keep rewriting it.”

“It’s OK to revise. I imagine the scene here is pretty small though, right?”

“It is,” Kaan answered, “They do some poetry readings at the arts and crafts store. There is a community college a couple of miles inland.”

They put on heavy overalls and rubber boots. Kaan drove them out to the small lake, not far from the log cabin. They stood in the water, fly fishing. The clouds hung over the treetops. There were no bites.

“Do you miss Aspen?” Alli wondered.

“Do you miss Dallas?” Kaan responded.

They lapsed back into silence. Kaan reeled in a trout, glimmering in the pale daylight.

Kaan pulled out a cast-iron pan and a grill from her truck. They made a fire and sat around it, watching the fish roast, nudging it silently with sticks. Beyond the clouds, the sun began its journey to the other side of the earth.

“One day, you’re going to have to go back,” Alli said.

Kaan said nothing. They sat there, into the night, watching the dance of the flames.



“floating” – badsummer

“When We Were Young” – Adele

“Our Real is Real” – Typical Girls

“California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas