Pagosa Springs Artists

First Time, Last Time


The first time I saw her pretty face,
so young, too shy, eager to be included,
she was part of the church youth group,
only fifteen. I, just home from a student
exchange year abroad, wore a shock
of blond hair grazing my older and more
sophisticatedd brow, a senior reconnecting
with a popular crowd of old school friends.

We went steady four years, even after I went
on to college ahead of her, until she said she
wanted to date someone else on campus. We
stayed off and on a few more shifting years
until I gave her a diamond ring for her birthday,
and because it had been six years. She said yes
beacause she'd just lost a beauty pageant, and
she knew I loved her. We had been a couple
already a long time.

Only two years after our wedding, she began
secretly seeing another man. Kept me in the dark
for six months because I wanted to believe she
hadn't stopped loving me, despite her weekend
absences and our loss of intimacy. Finding out
her treachery from phone records was agony. She
confirmed my fears a last time we passed without
touching through a house that never was our home.


first published in The University of Iowa’s Daily Palette

©2009 Bonnie Manion


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