the worst day ever in my life
Winter, first semester away at college,
I take the train on Saturday, like usual,
to my girlfriend’s school,
meet her in the dorm lobby.
She sits, quiet, not looking at me,
one pretty leg folded under,
a beautiful girl, so collegiate, so confident,
fresh as new winter snow.
“I’m so sorry, Mike” she says,
looking out through the window,
“But I can’t see you today.”
I didn’t see this coming, nope,
broadsided by this one.
We had been together
since high school, three years now,
and were serious, at least
I thought we were serious.
“I have a date today with another guy.”
My heart sinks like a stone
down to the bottom of the sea.
“I need to date other guys to be certain
you are the right one for me.”
I’m dumbfounded, shattered, I shrug.
What could I do? It is useless to protest.
But before leaving the campus
I go over to the cafeteria,
watch from an upper window
as she and her new boyfriend
come in for lunch, watch her giggling
and playful, throwing little snowballs
at her new beau, her lustrous
brown hair catching the sun.
Instead of trying to kiss and paw at her
I remember that dismal,
uncertain time in college
(lost in the mists of life’s dark,
when my wife
(my girlfriend then)
decided she needed to wander,
to date other guys. If instead
of trying to kiss and paw at her,
these short-sighted jackasses
(thank God for that)
would have been chivalrous
and caring, selfless and concerned
about what she thought and felt
and had to say, she might
have connected with something
in one of them, something
she admired and needed
and came to love, something
she has never found in me.
Things might have been
very different than they are today.
Certainly if she had dated another guy
even a handful of times
I wouldn’t be here right now.
Michael Estabrook is a baby boomer who began getting his poetry published in the late 1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “When the Muse Speaks.” His interests include history, art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who just happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known.