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PUBLICATION: “I Don’t Know When I’ll Be Back” in The New Quarterly

My latest short story, “I Don’t When I’ll Be Back” appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The New Quarterly, along with work from Liz Harmer, Pamela Mordecai, and others. This is my first appearance in TNQ. Thanks to editor Pamela Mulloy and the rest of the editorial board for taking on this piece.

The story is set on a rugged Atlantic island –not unlike Prince Edward Island. It’s a look at the complicated relationship between a terminally ill soccer star (Caitlin) and a young skateboarder (Jesse), two teens struggling to fight back against the confines of their small town lives.

Here’s a sneak peak:

Her parents would not be home until five, so they still had several hours.

“How do you imagine it?” he had asked, outside on the balcony.

So she told him what she wanted.

He said that he could do it.

The light from the bedside lamp threw her body into harsh relief. The lamp itself had a narrow stem and a frilly shade with pink and white polka dots—the lamp of a girl much younger than Caitlin. Beside the lamp on her nightstand sat a pile of hardcover library books. Alice Munro, Harry Potter. An Introduction to Buddhism. She withdrew from a small drawer a box of wooden matches and lit a stick of Nag Champa incense, then held the match to a red tea light candle until at last the flame caught and shadows flickered like waves along the wall.

For the final touch, she opened up the laptop on her desk and created a moody playlist from a song by London Grammar. The haunting music and candlelight made the room feel small, and the drawn blinds made the hour seem late, as if the sun was already setting—though when they’d left the covered balcony the light had been sharp and clean, blazing like a beacon off the window of the garage.

“Is it too—I don’t know—romantic?” she asked, but with a breezy lilt to her voice, as if it didn’t really matter either way.

“It’s cool,” he said.

I’m grateful to John Barton for earlier editorial feedback on the piece. To purchase a copy of the issue, visit the TNQ website or read for free online.

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