storyfort logo thumbnail (002).png

Micro Fiction Contest 2019

First Place


Staying Afloat

Joseph Sigurdson


It might be impractical to seek out a new romance. Due to this, I have continued collecting the sea turtle figurines and have not explored other options. It started on Tinder, which was where I met Diane who’d later become my wife. One of her profile pictures was of her scuba diving off the Gulf side of Florida. She was underwater, clad in all the gear, and floating above an elephantine loggerhead sea turtle. The thing looked rather apathetic, in contrast with Diane’s sly smile over the air tube. I’ve never been a man of conversations. Never knew how to begin them. So I said, “I collect sea turtle figurines,” though I didn’t.

She said, “You do?”

And I said, “Yeah, have been for a while now,” even though, I didn’t.

It just came out of me as a sneeze might, and it was working well until I realized the hole I’d dug when she said, “I’d love to see them sometime.”

I ran to all the antique malls and studied the shelves in search of sea turtles. Every one I found I crafted a new story for and rehearsed them as I waited for 6:30 on the night of our date. The first one I inherited through my neighbor’s will, the one with a chip in its fin survived an earthquake, this one I stole from my boss’s office. It became the badge of our marriage—the party-story of how we met. Thereafter, everywhere we went we looked for sea turtles.

She fell in love with a man at a conference and left me the day following my birthday. I understood. She had lost whatever she had for me awhile before. And she tried. She truly did.

The sea turtles have stuck around, scattered throughout our apartment as relics. I find I’ve been seeking them out more than I had when Diane was with me. I do have more time now. I know what everyone’s thinking—that I’m holding on to some lost cause. I think giving up on them would in some way say that they were only for her.



Joseph Sigurdson is a writer who now lives in Mississippi because the winters in Buffalo are actually that bad.