Three Stories by Cornelia Nixon

cornelia Nixon IIIFirst Sightings

He strutted into a grad-student party at midnight, everyone dancing, me the baby professor they could see right through, in a proper skirt, after a deadly faculty dinner. Tall, dark and handsome, lean, in an old tweed jacket that had been his dad’s, he carried a twelve-pack, friends high-fiving him, and I thought, That guy’s trouble. Then I saw him on a street corner talking to a girl in a pink fuzzy hat, as snow fell, and he looked down at her so tenderly, it hurt my ribs. Why didn’t I have someone to look down at me like that?

Mistakes Were Made

He blocked my path, at the water fountain and along the wooden walkway on campus. At a pig roast, he picked me as his partner in lawn darts, and I ate off his paper plate. At Sharon’s party, we danced. He mentioned a poem about a flea that bites two lovers, mixing their blood. I’ve seen the drawing William Blake did for that poem, I said. It’s not by Blake, he said. It’s John Donne, and for that mistake I will have to kiss you. He did, sweetly, while his friend shielded us from view. I said, Who wrote Hamlet?

The Cement Heart

He had been gone four years, when I looked down in my own driveway and saw in the cement a heart with an arrow crudely drawn, his initials at the top, a plus sign, and then mine. When did he do that, and why didn’t I see it until now? I find his writing on my recipes. On the one for zucchini quiche, he added: Smother in pork chops, bake two hours. If I wrote Use Fresh next to something canned, he wrote Use Hundred Year Old by the next ingredient. Messages in a bottle from a vanished planet now.


Cornelia Nixon’s four books include three novels: Now You See It, Angels Go Naked, and Jarrettsville. Her stories have won two O. Henry Awards (one of them a first prize) and a Pushcart Prize.

Photo Credit: ydylg

2 Responses to “Three Stories by Cornelia Nixon”

  1. Nicole says:

    It was a love story to me. It was very simple but it had a fluidity.

  2. CrazilyAddicted says:

    I found the first story especially intriguing. I liked that an assumption was made about the male character and boom, reversal. Great job. I would read a whole novel about this.

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