Rigorous
Volume Three, Issue 1



Middle-Aged Bride

Cristina Querrer


She would dwell. She would gather.

He presents himself as a gift and that she was the lucky one to have him come back after five months of gallivanting in Costa Rica. Finally, after ten years of being on a love roller coaster, he says he is going to marry her, but only under his terms. He came back at the end of November and managed to stay through Christmas. He threatened not to marry her many times since he came back—threatened to leave again. Took him a long time to finally order her wedding ring online that she had to pick out, because if she didn’t, she would never get it, and because of his indecision, it doesn’t come in time for Christmas. Of course, it won’t, she thinks. Pretty typical.

The whole process wasn’t romantic like a Costa Rican sunset that he’s seen with other people. It didn’t sound adventurous like sitting in a two-bit paradise bar sitting next to a surfer guy in the tourist town while she sat at home mourning his death-like disappearance again. All because she finally stood her ground. All because she wanted to know where they were going after all these years. He didn’t like the ultimatum, he told her, so he ditched her.

In the end, their honeymoon would consist piggybacking on the install of his new set of teeth—the Costa Rican teeth implants he bragged to her constantly about how much more he saved there than what he would have spent in the U.S. for them. She knows he will not take her to the fishing port, Quepos, he and his old ex-pat alcoholic buddies has taken boats from, or to Flutterby House, the hostel’s bar by his place he’s visited so many times where he had the nerve to bring home two brand new koozies with their logo as “remembrance”—reminders of bars and girls he would visit on the regular that he would never admit to. He told her how his ex-pat friend had a young, Costa Rican girlfriend, and that he was more broken-down looking than he was, planting bad seeds in her head.

She will always remember the ghosting, the silent treatments, the temper tantrums, the “fat cunt” slurs, the gas lighting, stuff she’s subjected herself to because she doesn’t want to start over again in her 50s. She lost 50 pounds, so he cannot call her a fat cunt anymore. He says she looks “hot” but knows he would rather look at a young 20-year-old in a bikini and stow away in rustic paradises, drinking, smoking, masturbating, fucking, so it doesn’t matter what she does to try to look good for him.

She will dwell. She will gather. That’s all she will do.


Cristina Querrer: ""I was born and raised in the Philippines, post Vietnam War, during the Marcos regime, pre-Mount Pinatubo eruption, as a US Air Force military child. I graduated high school from former Wagner High School, Clark Air Force Base, Philippines, in 1985. My works have appeared in The Milo Review, The Adirondack Review, The Fairfield Review, Stirring, and in print anthologies such as Pinoy Poetics, Babaylan, Bombshells, The Mom Egg, and Field of Mirrors. My first poetry chapbook, The Art of Exporting, was published by dancing girl press in 2012 and my latest first length poetry collection, By Astrolabes & Constellations published by Agave Press, in January 2019. I received my MFA in Creative Writing and my BA in Creative Writing with a minor in Visual Arts. I was an English Instructor at the College of Micronesia and various other colleges. I am currently residing in the Tampa Bay area. You can view my art and literary blog online at YourArtsyGirl.Blogspot.com and www.CristinaQuerrer.com."




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