BECAUSE OF HER • by Cheryl Whitten

Brandon stood in the middle of the sidewalk staring at me and all I could think of were the way his blue eyes had kissed my soul five years ago. The way they’d promised me forever and ever, amen. I swallowed around the lump in my throat and reached down to clasp my son Connor’s hand. I don’t believe in amen anymore.

I couldn’t because of her.

Nosy Christopher at the bakery shop told me that Brandon had moved back with her, that they had a cozy little house with a manicured lawn over on Fifth Ave. Christopher couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful they both looked, almost as if time had stopped for them. I smoothed my hand across my torso. Stretch marks, that’s what I had. Marks of pain and labour, and a five-year-old son.

There were no kids.

Except there was Connor.

But Connor didn’t know and neither did Brandon. I supposed I owed Brandon something, but he’d chosen. Connor, well, it wasn’t the time. Christopher asked me if it would ever be the time, but I didn’t know.

Brandon lifted his hand and waved. The wind caught his shaggy brown hair and I felt the lump in my throat grow. I glanced at Connor, his brown hair and blue eyes. Maybe the time was now.

She stepped out of the bakery then. Her blonde hair caught in the wind and tousled around her pale face. He turned to her, kissed her. First, lightly on the lips, but then his hand moved to caress her cheek as if claiming her. My breath caught. I tugged Connor forward and crossed the street.

I remembered. I don’t believe in amen anymore.

Cheryl Whitten has previously been published on,,, and in her local newspaper The Star. She is also studying English literature in the Bachelor of Arts program at Athabasca University, and is working with Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poet-in-Residence Marilyn Dumont in a mentorship program. Cheryl currently resides in Wainwright, Alberta. More about her can be seen at

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