This story was originally published in Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction and poetry from emerging writers.
After getting caught cheating on a test, Ty’s punishment is to work as a lifeguard on the Cape shore. But cheating in school is just one of his problems—the distance between who he is and who he claims to be is increasing day by day. Now, when he is supposed to be studying, he patrols the Internet instead, arranging dates with older men who also seem to be living double lives.
While lifeguarding, Ty stumbles on a human skull half-hidden in the ocean floor. As the summer blurs like blood in the water, Ty builds lie upon lie while searching for the skull he was forced to leave behind, wanting to prove that at least one thing he’s claimed is true. At its core, River Is to Ocean As ___ Is to Heart is a story of the young, exploring the dark waters of identity, image, and truth.