I Must Have Been That Man

“I suspect there was some kind of fall,” she said,
even if it was just a little stumble.”

“I Must Have Been That Man” by James Tate

On a Monday night in October when I was twenty, I walked home with a boy from a party drinking cheap whiskey and sharing puffs of his cigarette. We stopped on the stairs outside of my apartment and kissed. I asked if he wanted to spend the night. This is healthy, I told myself, this is college.

In my room, we laughed and shushed each other, fumbling around with buttons and zippers until he took off my shirt.

“What’s this,” he said as he traced the scar down the middle of my chest, his fingers lingering on the keloids, the small, hardened lumps of scar tissue that punctuated the already prominent pink line.

“I had a heart transplant,” I said.


“A year ago.”


I waited for him to ask the usual questions: why did you need it, are you okay now, what about the donor.

“You have great boobs,” he said.

To read the rest of this essay, go here.

Excerpt from “Your Hearts, Your Scars.” Copyright © 2022 by Adina Talve-Goodman. Forthcoming Jan. 24, 2023, by Bellevue Literary Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.