For a long time, I thought I couldn’t be a fiction writer because I’m a terrible liar. So I busied myself with personal essays and memoir pieces. But as it turns out, sticking to the truth – the whole truth and nothing but the truth – got weary after a while.
This story, like most of my fiction, was born from a personal experience – taking a pregnancy test in a portable bathroom by a lake after coming home from a trip abroad – but because it’s fiction, I was free to change the details of this woman’s situation. I was several years out of college when I sat by that lake, wondering what the lines on the plastic stick would tell me, but making Celeste a senior in college increased the stakes of the situation.
I also planted my character in a place I know well, a place with a bit more tension than a peaceful New England lake – the public beach on the side of the Rickenbacker Causeway in the heart of Miami. How many times have I stopped by here on a whim and stood in the surf, watching the waves and the clouds collide?
I’ll never forget one afternoon when I was enjoying a quick swim before work. Suddenly, the skies darkened and the beach emptied just as quickly; within minutes, I found myself at sea in the midst of an epic thunderstorm, unable to see a thing beyond the wall of rain, completely engulfed by water.