Turtle, Under Cover

I shake my head. I didn’t want to come here, but Lincoln didn’t ask. He is just acting like the West Indian man he is. One says goodbye to the dead. 

“Well, we missed the funeral,” he says. And I think about how we didn’t know, busy with work and our lives in a city far away. Truly didn’t have a lot of close friends, and no one would have thought to tell us. 

We meander around the crosses. A real egret is sitting on one and we startle it and watch as it flies up over the graveyard and lands gracefully at the edge of the salina. Lincoln seems to know where we are going. I don’t see how, but he is weaving his way through the rows, probably mentally counting how many Methodists usually die per year, and figuring out where Truly is by that sort of strange calculation.

He stops and points. I look in the direction of his finger and see a cross, a kind of lukewarm white with strips of paint coming off the wood on the side closer to the sea. Her name is there, somewhat faded but readable: Truly Corey.

We stand for a while and stare at the grave marker. I feel nothing, just hot and sweaty in the afternoon heat of the island. Lincoln is quiet. Maybe he knows this is the place he will return to one day. I know he always keeps a life insurance policy with just enough money on it to pay for a body to be flown home. I see the bill come in, and I see him write the check for it, but I never think about what it really means. Now I know that one day, he will be one of these white crosses. And what will I be? A donation to science. I have already filled out the donation papers for a local medical school. Different endings. A New England one and a West Indian one.

 “Ready to go?” Lincoln asks.

“Just a minute.”  I take a black marker out of my bag and lean over the cross on Truly’s grave. I start to draw a turtle.

Lincoln looks around to see if anyone is watching. But we are alone in the graveyard by the salina. I draw a sea turtle. It is swimming in the ocean, heading north. Its head and its flippers are outside of its shell, and it is free.



headshot of the author, Kyle Ingrid Johnson


Kyle Ingrid Johnson was born in Vermont and has lived in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Florida, and Puerto Rico. She currently resides in Boston.