Postcard proseIssue 23 | November 2015

It’s Salty

by Kelly Hill

Lailatul “Fitri” Fitriani was born prematurely. She is failing in all of her classes and has terrible handwriting. She is long and thin and has big eyes that sometimes focus on you with an intensity of effort that makes you worry that you’ll never have the answers she needs.

In a flock of eighth grade girls, I strolled through the deserted streets of an Indonesian beach town on the southern coast of Central Java. I turned to Fitri and asked if she wanted to swim. She answered my effort at small talk with a short, No.

I searched my brain for a new topic. Have you ever been to the beach before?, I asked.


Trying to wrap my mind around living on a tropical island for thirteen years and never once seeing the ocean, I stumbled through my Indonesian vocabulary to say, It’s good. It’s big.

We stepped onto the sand, and I took off my sandals. Fitri removed hers. I looked across the waves and said again, It’s big.

Fitri looked at me and said, It’s big.

I walked out until my ankles were wet, and then my knees, and then my waist as I lowered myself to sit in the outermost-edge of the breaking surf. Fitri sat beside me. We linked our elbows and waited for the waves. The water rolled towards us in white froth and pushed us backwards, tumbling towards one another and tightening the knot of our arms.

Our heads popping back to the surface like buoys, and Fitri looked at me. The water, Miss! she yelled above the waves. The water! It’s salty!

About the author

Kelly Hill grew up road-tripping across Europe, camping in the rain, and watching endless hours of the Travel Channel. She spent a year as an exchange student in Berlin, discovered her love of tragic Irish plays in London, walked across Scotland, celebrated New Year’s around a campfire in the mountains of Guatemala, learned to eat potatoes like apples in Peru, and now lives in a Javanese, rice-farming village. As a Peace Corps education volunteer in Indonesia, she enjoys teaching her students English and fueling her tropical fruit addiction.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok