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Family Circle 2009 Fiction Contest Winner: "Our Atlantis"

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Michael Byers

In the following weeks, Atlantis appeared time and again. To me, anyway. I didn't know about Madge, really, since she said little even as she helped me pick out linens and lamps and tubes of the bright acrylics, with which I preferred to paint. I glimpsed Atlantis in the curve of a water glass or the bowl of a spoon. Sometimes it appeared in the puddles that collected after a rainfall, lurking just below their surface, untouchable, already lost.

The night before I left Madge and I sprawled across the bed in Madge's room with the stereo blaring, eating chips from the bag. Atlantis was everywhere. It shone from the dark eyes of Madge's stuffed bears and from the chrome knobs of the stereo. It beckoned from the stone in my class ring, and from the glass in the framed picture of Madge, Kiri and me taken the summer I'd turned ten. We saw it too in each other, a glow on our skin, shining in our eyes.

"At least," I said, "I'm not going too far. I can come home some weekends."

Madge only nodded. We said goodnight, but not goodbye.