The Prominence of Her Bones

By Jennifer Todhunter

On Friday, we skipped school, smoked a joint in Mimi’s car and drove downtown to the big-box electronic store to stare at the wall of televisions streaming a show about humpback whales. We flinched when one breached and sent spray across the screen, doubled over with laughter, earned dirty looks from the retirees shopping for blenders and ink cartridges. 

Lila had a crush on Jason, the sales manager who’d taken her virginity earlier that year. He smuggled us into the break room where everyone except Sadie bogued on free donuts and shitty coffee. Sadie ate her fingernails instead, always ate her fingernails and little else. She’s doing it for attention, my older sister said, like she knew everything about everyone. 

Lila kissed Jason goodbye while we cranked up the Pixies, while we yelled, been trying to meet you, yelled, where is my mind, yelled, we la la love you, out the window. Yelled until Lila stopped sucking Jason’s face, then we screeched out of the parking lot, Mimi’s foot to the floor, horns honking as we ripped by. There was car dancing, arms bumping to the beats, wanna fuck’s tossed out the window at cute guys on bikes, on skateboards, on their way to work or university. Imagine how much drama comes with fucking a psych major, Mimi said, and we were quiet for a bit, thinking what it would be like to fuck anyone who knew what they were doing, where they were going.

We floated around town, paused at gas stations to refuel on cigarettes, on coffee, on cigarettes and coffee. We pretended to be deaf, pretended to be mute, pretended to have Australian, Irish, British accents. We were anybody and we were nobody.

We ended up at the breakwater, always ended up at the breakwater, every Friday, the long concrete abutment stretching out through the ocean. The wind pulled at our hair, pushed us back. It was one of the reasons we came here, to fight against that force, to feel it tear into us. We sat on the edge, our brains burnt from the day, watching for seals, for porpoises, for humpback whales. Imagine if one breached here, Sadie said, imagine its size, and we all shifted closer to her tiny frame at the thought of that happening. We held her hands in ours, felt the prominence of her bones, tried to soften their edges, until one of us stood and started to walk back, and the rest of us stood and followed.


Jennifer Todhunter’s stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Necessary Fiction, CHEAP POP, and elsewhere. Her work has been selected for Best Small Fictions and Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pidgeonholes. Find her at or @JenTod_.  

Art by Lesley C. Weston (Alcohol ink and gel pen)

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