Wordlessly, she positions him beside her, leaning against the boat’s railing for support. She is now somebody’s wife. She is satisfied with their pose—only slightly more intimate than a prom photograph. Even now, twenty-five years later, I can hear the tension in her mouth. Her gaze is direct, flat. Her thoughts are elsewhere. The photographer fiddles with the aperture, trying not to overexpose the fleshy whiteness of her skin, a princess in her past life.

My father is my mother’s contrast. He is brown and complacent. No matter how many times the photographer counts to three, advances the film, my father’s lips stay a stodgy tan line. His eyes are narrow behind the enormity of his glasses, three years out of style.

I try to imagine the moment my mother has described in detail, the one the photographer captured and my father later destroyed—the only time she ever saw my father cry. The newlyweds drop their arms, turn away. Bride and groom, shoulder to shoulder at the rail, contemplating the churning water below. A cork pops behind them. After a moment, he lifts his hand. He wipes his face. His head dips slightly. Her eyes do not turn to acknowledge his movement. Her hands grip the wood in front of her. A small breeze catches his hair, flutters her veil. They are quiet, their bodies stiff. The boat skips over a wave, lurching like a subway train. They stand together. They do not flinch.


by Moriah Howell

Moriah Howell was born and raised in Penns Valley, a rural community outside State College, Pennsylvania. She is currently an MFA student at Temple University, focusing on fiction. She writes poetry and creative nonfiction as well, but feels she was meant to write fiction. Her dream job would be an editor at a publishing house, as well as an author, and she hopes to make those dreams come true.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud