The Place We Held Our Wedding is Now a Surf Shop ~ fiction by Jen McConnell

I’m not sentimental, but I don’t want to be erased. That’s why I motion the salesperson over to the table of folded green and yellow T-shirts. This is where we cut the cake, I explain. She narrows her eyes, trying, I can tell, to decide if I’m a well-dressed homeless weirdo or a Vicodin-addled suburbanite, and which one might cause her more trouble. The ceremony was at the church on the hill, I continue, but we had the reception here.

Recognition in her eyes. She waves me over to a wall with framed black and white photos. The third from the left is what it looked like when we got married, though I remember the day in bright colors. Only twenty-five years ago, but a lifetime to me and the young woman beside me.

I move toward the curved wall of windows where two hundred guests enjoyed chicken or lasagna in green-leathered booths. I trace the steps we took, newly minted and naive, handing out lace bags of sugared almonds.

Our divorce was drama-free, just like our marriage, but the wedding was as extravagant and magical as a little girl’s dream. The voluminous dress is packed in a shadow box in the attic, too luckless to give away. The beloved shoes I dyed black and sold at a tag sale.

I pluck a pair of sunglasses, $16.95, from the tower that stands where the band played sappy love songs. Tourist pricing, I think, as I search for cash in my purse. The salesgirl cuts the tag and I wear the sunglasses out into the bright sun, passing the surfboards that stand where we once danced.

Jen McConnell is a fiction writer and poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sledgehammer, Hindsight Magazine, The Louisville Review, Reflex Press, What Rough Beast, and others. Her debut collection of short stories, “Welcome, Anybody,” was published by Press 53. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Find her at

Show Jen some love via PayPal at jenmcconnell11(at)gmail(dot)com.