“My New Boyfriend” by Michelle Reale

He wanted to go to the sea. I said, yeah, whatever. I didn’t have much money and it would be a while before I could get there on my own. I liked him. He stuttered but it was okay. On the way, I was thirsty. We stopped at a Qwik Mart that had one gas pump. It was windier there. That means we’re getting close, he said. He gave me a five-dollar bill. I went into the store where three men were leaning on the counter. One of them said “Girl,” and the others laughed. I grabbed a soda. The man took my money but gave me no change. Outside, my new boyfriend kicked at one of the tires. “Every thing okay?” I asked. He nodded and smiled. He’d made reservations for us at a little place. It was owned by a family who had the same last name as his mother’s maiden name. “No relation,” the owner, a woman with a fantastic mustache said without asking any questions. “Well all right then,” my new boyfriend said, but not unkindly. She looked us up and down. I put one foot over the other, trying to hide the sea turtle tattoo on my big toe. She saw it, though and raised a furry eyebrow. Our room was small. The furniture was clean but old. The bathtub had cigarette burns on the edge. “Paradise,” my new boyfriend said. There was one tiny window set up high on the wall. My new boyfriend stood on a chair and looked out. The tiny bit of ocean he could see from it made him so happy. I wanted him to wrap his arms around me. We didn’t know each other very well yet. My mother would have said we put the cart before the horse. He came down from the chair and looked around the room. Then he looked at me. I felt cold and lonely in that little seashore house and longed for something I could not name. He sat on the edge of the bed. Outside the wind roared. I was afraid he was going to ask me for the change from the soda. I thought he would. But my new boyfriend was a gentleman. He never did.

More fiction at Used Furniture.


  1. This is really great- I love the atmosphere you’ve created here. I feel like I’ve lived in that room forever.

  2. Thanks so much for reading, Egan!

  3. Love this, so real and unaffected. I felt very pulled into their space, and I thought your narrator, though a bit naive, was a very hopeful character, very positive about life despite her loneliness.

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