The Forgotten One

I stood in the bathroom staring at my face. I didn’t know where he fit into my life. I gave some of those small smacks to my cheeks that were supposed to bring my new cream alive, make the collagen jostle around and expand, plump up the depleted cells.

I was unsettled.

It was the eve of my fifty-eighth birthday, and I was preoccupied with getting things in order. More particularly, I needed an ethical accounting of all the romantic affairs woven through my longish life. And I’d almost done it. Seen objectively, they’d all been interesting diversions and a fairly equal balance of give and take. But this one, this Gabriel, escaped my reckoning. What was he, twenty, no, twenty-two years younger than me, I calculated, as I finished my eyebrows. Concentrated plucking always fixes the mind on elemental details.

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