Belly of Glittery Gold

From the edge of the field


He had jasmine in his hair the day we met. Standing there in his busy smoothie shop greeting sculpted yoga moms and tailored young men, he looked like a frat boy.

But his soft and clear brown eyes told me more.

I saw him notice me and then consciously not notice me so he could watch without notice. I was grateful, because I could not figure out what had piqued his interest.

The dark circles? The second-hand clothes? The naked face?

Maybe he had guessed the way I would light up when I began to dance with my four year old daughter before we even had a chance to stand in line.

If that was it, I knew I was in trouble.

His name was Love. I had been single for thirteen months. Believing in tender arms was more of a mantra than a part of my gait.

The smoothie I shared was good but expensive. Pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry, Greek yogurt and something else.

We didn’t speak the first time. I had to go back.

In the weeks that followed, I convinced myself that I was looking for some magical spark in his eyes, but the truth is, I was trying to find out if I could.

The signs were clear. Matthew abruptly changed the music when I came back on my own. Then he sat at our table the next time I brought my daughter.

“You must be a great dad.”

He looked at his hands. “I try my best.”

As we headed toward something more, I started choosing my Pumas over my Vans.

My natural open awkwardness disappeared. I shook the shakiness from my hands before going into the shop.

I started to question if he was an Ash tree or an Aspen.

Everything about Matthew checked out. But all I had known was broken hearts. He didn’t fit into my categories, so I cut off little pieces of him until I recognized him as one whose heart I would break.

I hated being that person more than I hated having my heart broken.

I needed to make it quick, and from somewhere above my body, speed seemed reasonable.

My teenage self took over. One morning, exhausted after two weeks of broken, restless sleep, I went to make coffee and found none in the house.

I pulled a hat over my messy hair and headed to Matthew’s shop. I ordered a java blend to go.

“To go?” He was being playful, trying to make me smile.

I was terrified.

My exhausted, bitchy, pre-coffee teenage self was, like, the worst self I was willing to be in public.

And he wanted me to stay?

In my mind, I was flapping my arms like a crazed sparrow, but that was a me I would not be out loud.

I refused to smile. I was mean.

“Ya, to go.”

I looked down at my laced Pumas. I walked home mumbling ‘fuck’. I spent the day trying to warm my hands with the sunshine that graced the alley between my house and the next house.

I decided for him that he was wrong about me.

I walked by his shop about a week later wearing a ring that was given to me years before by a girlfriend.

Matthew was outside. My daughter wanted a smoothie. I told her we couldn’t have one.

I tried to walk fast. When I glanced up, he was watching me.

There was pain in his eyes.

I broke my own heart. But he’ll never know. And neither will anyone else.
photo taken from

Author: tendrilwise

Hi, I have a diploma in Journalism, I've published a novel, and I am currently studying psychology. My odd way of viewing the world either gets me kicked out of parties or invited to them. Jenn McKay

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