The Salish Sea

Mark Hitz


Along the shore lay stretches of perfect unmarked road, unreal road. The asphalt was deep-black, halved by a severe double line, and it cut along the mountain like an incision. We had nothing to say to each other, which was unusual. She drove and I looked out over the sea, the crashing beaches, the cliffs, creation. For miles at a time we saw no traffic. We were alone, tracing the edge of a continent. It was as if we were being confronted.

“Would it be so bad?” she’d asked me. We’d been reckless in bed the morning before and the timing was exactly wrong, or right. Somehow we both knew there would be a child. She had the soul for it, expansive and inclusive and desirous, primed for conception. She wanted children, this was why we were slowly ending things. She wanted our children. Would it be so bad? It wouldn’t be so bad. I waited for her in the parking lot of a pharmacy. At that time it wasn’t a simple process, it required physician consent, some sort of poisonous pill sequence. A pharmacy in Port Angeles, one stop in our short vacation on the Olympic Peninsula, the far reaches of America, most of it still wilderness.