I lost my wife at sea. People ask me all the time how it happened, but I don’t like to talk about it. What is there to say? One minute she was there, the next she was gone. I was in the cabin at the time, looking for champagne. By the time I emerged the deck was empty. People say to me that maybe she hit her head. She might have, but I don’t like to think about that. I try not to think about her, mostly.

Our dog was on the deck when it happened. I guess he saw it happen. People say dogs are supposed to be loyal, and useful when kids fall down wells and stuff, but when I came out he was just looking over the side. That confirmed it for me, that she had gone over. I didn’t swim around looking for her. I don’t know why I didn’t. One minute she was there, the next she was gone, and I sort of just sat there dumbly and thought about how lonely I was going to be.

Of course I looked guilty at the time, and of course there wasn’t proof that I did or didn’t do something. For what it’s worth I didn’t. You can believe me or not, it doesn’t affect my life really. I was grieving and the cops tried to make me admit it. I’m done trying to convince people. 

I lost the dog at the dog park a week later. He went off leash and when I got up to go he wasn’t around, even though the whole park was fenced in. Maybe there was a hole in the fence, or maybe one of the other dog owners just took him. 

I didn’t look for him either. Things end, and that’s okay even though it isn’t. Last week at the beach I thought I saw them both. There was a woman who looked like her, with a dog that looked like him. I was tossing a football with my friends, so I didn’t try to get a closer look. I sort of hope it was them, even thought that would mean she left me and stole my dog. I think I’d be okay with that. 

—J. Wickline