How do I describe it to you when I have been landlocked my entire life? 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the sea is tonal, and the sky yawns over all that water. I was just married then. My young husband was smart and moody and sometimes I doubted he loved me, but on that island, on Isabela, we had to be together or we’d be so completely alone. His moods were tidal and when one rolled in the afternoon of our one-week wedding anniversary, I took his hand and led him to a shallow pool, a saltwater microcosm housed in volcanic rock. I had energy then; I wanted to pull him from the tight spool of himself. “Look at this,” I said, and he looked and we looked at all the small, foreign creatures breathing there. Then, like a shot, a red baby octopus darted beneath the surface, taking refuge under an outcropping. “Did you see that?” we asked each other. I believe it happened because we both said yes. But it was I who remained standing there, I who remained in a state of esperando, desperate to see the animal again.
Art by Afrah Aamer
Darci Schummer is the author of the story collection Six Months in the Midwest (Unsolicited Press). Her work has appeared in places like Necessary Fiction, Midwestern Gothic, and Compose Journal. She teaches writing at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Twitter @darcischummer