First Time in My Life
I knew something was wrong when she showed up not wearing her nose ring.
More than once, I had told Lucy Reyes how much I liked it. She had a broad nose.
The gold hoop in her right nostril was alluring. Wavy black as blue hair, darkest eyes
I’d ever seen, tiny waist, voice of a girl-child. So what if she was a thirty-six-year-old grandmother. I was thirty-five. More importantly, she had a tender heart, and we
shared similarly rotten pasts. During our last date, a Cuban multi-artist concert movie
called “Buena Vista Social Club” she welled up, leaned into my ear, and whispered
how much venerable bolero singer, Ibraham Ferrer, looked like her late father.
Afterwards, holding hands, we walked slowly. She says it’s been 2 years since she’s
been with a man. At this point in her life, finds herself only interested in serious men.
“That would be me,” I say, honestly. We spend the night together. So I was shaken,
when, the very next week, seemingly in a panic, she calls it quits. Incredulous, I say,
“What’s the problem?” “There is no problem,” she says. “You’re handsome and know
how to treat a lady. But I’ve met someone else, a customer at the Vitamin Shoppe
where I work. He’s a veterinarian.” Her way of saying he offers security. “Good luck,”
I say, meaning it. Misty eyed, I’m actually pleased. For the first time in my life,
hurt trumps relief at the end.
First appeared in Paterson Literary Review
Ted Jonathan is a poet and short story writer. Raised in the Bronx, he now lives in New Jersey. His collection of poems and short stories Bones & Jokes was published by NYQ Books (2009). His poetry collection RUN was published by NYQ Books (2016). He can be contacted at email@example.com