The first time I saw you,
You were leaning against your brand-new car
In the parking lot of my apartment complex,
Sporting black shades and a carefully groomed goatee,
I saw you from the corner of my eye
As I stepped out of my car,
But there was something about the way you stood there,
That made me feel exposed,
As if you could see the skin of my stomach,
Rumpled like a deflated balloon,
Two months postpartum.
As if you knew my heart would lurch
The first time I saw you.
As if you expected
That I was hoping
For more than just the introduction
You’d traveled 300 miles for.
I don’t know what I was hoping for,
When I hadn’t seen you in 10 months,
When you had yet to see your son, even.
I was hoping to find
A glimpse of a crack
In the walls you'd erected
So many months before.
Maybe I was hoping you’d found your way back to
The sweet boy I’d met two years before
In that college newsroom.
Maybe I was hoping for “I’m sorry,” even--
“Sorry things didn’t work out;”
“Sorry I made things harder.”
But I knew,
The way you leaned against your car,
That you hadn’t come with sweetness.
And as I strode toward the steps to my apartment
Without a glance in your direction,
Opened the door
And shut it behind me,
I knew that even though you were finally here,
You were also
Jeni Bell is an award-winning fiction and non-fiction writer with credits in Guideposts for Kids, Guideposts for Teens, Sweet 16, Highlights for Children, Boy's Life, Pockets, and more. Most of her fiction is middle-grade fiction. She also works as a healthcare writer full-time. She lives with her husband, children, two dogs, two cats, two guinea pigs and several fish in Munster, Ind.
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