First Love


Photo by cottonbro studio on


My face in the mirror looked different—

softer, rosier. 

My skin sang a humming song. 

“I’m in love,” I told my reflection.

The object of my affection,

a senior, was not an academic.

He came close to not graduating at all.

His name, Inigo de Martino,

like the Mexican film director,

but my Inigo claimed Spanish nobility.

Inigo was an artist. 

He designed and painted sets

for high school productions.


We worked on the high school

literary magazine together.

That’s where it started.

Inigo would give me a ride

to our teacher-sponsor’s house.

The collaboration blossomed.


Inigo rode a motorcycle.

He wore a leather jacket.

He smoked—but never around me.

He had a shock of shiny, straight dark hair.

He was slim and wiry, with big smile.

He wore round, dark-rimmed glasses.

I thought he was exotic and fascinating.

My father hated him.


My father said,

“He always shakes my hand

to show me he isn’t holding a knife.”


Inigo took me to the prom.

I wore a long dress of dotted Swiss,

very demure.

My hair styled short like a woman of forty.

We had our picture taken.

Inigo in suit and tie,

me with my corsage, smiling shyly.


Inigo graduated and joined the Navy.

I never saw him again.

Years later,

I found that prom photo

in my father’s wallet.

My father had neatly cut out

Inigo’s head.

One thought on “First Love

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