Why I Don’t Go to Class Reunions
It’s dusk–we’re all wearing sweaters and waiting for the hay wagon. I try to make small talk but I never learned how. I’m much smarter than my best friends who’ve talked me into asking Connie to go on this hayride, my first date. She smiles a pretty smile. The horse arrives and everyone scrambles into the wagon from the cold. The smell of the hay helps calm my nerves.
The horse pulls the wagon off the road onto a farm trail. The wagon has a canvas top. Connie and I are lying side by side and I hear others making out in the dark and she lifts her head and kisses me, my first ever kiss, cupping the back of my head. It’s a short kiss. I drape my arm across her and lean over and kiss her again. I slide my hand behind her back and hold onto her elbow and savor the sweetness of those first kisses, not knowing that no other kisses will ever match these.
She lies in the crook of my arm and I never want this to stop, but all too soon the horse pulls us back into the parking lot. I realize then, in the light of the street, my hand’s been on her breast all this time, not her elbow.
I drive her home in mostly silence and I can’t wait to ask her out again but I find out later she made plans to meet another boy from class after I dropped her off.
Paul Beckman: Paul was one of the winners in the Queen’s Ferry 2016 Best of the Small Fictions. His 200+ stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, “Peek”, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website www.paulbeckmanstories.com
*Featured photography courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*