Nathan Kessman

Nathan Kessman

I Googled Nathan Kessman—couldn’t
find him. Searched Facebook—he
wasn’t there. The system to recapture 

lost loves had failed me. The alphabet
is what brought us together—his K,
my L—Mrs. Butterworth’s technique

to quickly target miscreants and
expedite the exchange of papers. It kept
Nathan’s grimy neck in view all of first

Grade—so close his scent of canned
peas made me gag. Turn around, I
seethed, as he tried to talk to me. 

She always caught us both, made us
stand in opposite corners for great
chunks of the morning. At recess

one day, everything changed. I love you,
he said in the middle of jump rope, and
that he’d wait for me. And there he was

—on the steps after school as other
children tumbled past him. He offered
up a sweaty palm (I held it but wiped

my hand as he looked away).
I saw my future along 16th Avenue.
He kissed me. It was more like Mom’s

satin than Dad’s bristle. Our romance
lasted almost two blocks. Right before
we reached the Boulevard. I knew—

My mom wants me home by 4, he
said—and then disappeared. The
rest is murky—I only remember

he left me with the crossing guard.
She held up her hand to stop traffic. I
ran home in time to see the Flintstones.

Author: Nancy Lubarsky

Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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