Jane Farrell was in love. Those around her knew this to be true because of the uncharacteristic rosiness in her cheeks and the soft twinkle in her eyes. Plus, she unabashedly told everyone around her, whether they asked or not.
Family and friends were relieved at this blossoming of first love. Whispers of “old maid” and “spinster” had surrounded Jane for years, and now, it looked like that fate would not befall her after all.
The sullen and shy Jane Farrell was actually the object of some unwitting man’s affection. It was a miracle, but one that no one seemed to suspect or question.
Jane’s coworkers, who didn’t share her family’s easy affection for her, did not find the news of Jane’s relationship so easy to believe.
“What’s his name?” Suzy Callahan had asked casually when Jane first declared her undying love and affection for some mystery suitor.
The bustling room full of telephone operators had suddenly fallen silent, as everyone anxiously awaited Jane’s answer.
Jane, gangly and coltish with legs to her neck and long, unkempt, rat-colored hair, had smiled wistfully, showing off a mouth full of crooked teeth. “Daniel.”
“Daniel what?” Suzy had grinned, knowing full well that she’d caught Jane in a lie.
But Jane did seem to know her lover’s last name, and it had fallen off her tongue as easily as her own. “Daniel Roberts.”
So the ladies had gone back to connecting their calls and eavesdropping on party lines.
But Suzy refused to let it go. She just couldn’t fathom how Jane Farrell had gone from a nervous and neurotic single woman with no prospects to a newly confident and cheerful other half of a couple in one day.
She continued to question Jane on her relationship with Daniel daily.
What’s he look like?
Where does he take you?
Where’s he from?
And Jane politely answered every question posed without hesitation: giddy and gay over her first love and thrilled that the popular Suzy Callahan had apparently taken an interest in her.
She happily detailed date after date and even began dressing better and wearing more and more rouge. Her long, stringy hair was washed on a daily basis, and the shadow of her former, awkward and plain self began to fade away.
But, as it goes with first love, Jane’s world came crashing down on a sunny Friday morning.
She rushed into work with tear-filled eyes, and Suzy and the other girls knew immediately that the dream relationship had ended.
Curious as always, Suzy was the first to approach the distraught Jane. “What happened, Jane?” The sweetness in her voice belied her true intentions: to fetch a juicy piece of gossip.
Jane looked up at her new friend and sobbed. “It’s over with Daniel!”
“Why, whatever for?”
But Jane was far too upset to answer, and she was excused for the day, leaving Suzy and the other girls to speculate like mad.
They didn’t have to speculate long.
News of Jane’s termination from the telephone company spread like wildfire. The cause? Well, that information was sketchy at best, but Suzy, ever the diligent investigator, discovered the answer herself after tracking down and visiting the infamous Daniel Roberts, who was recovering in a midtown hospital after being attacked by a stranger.
As he described his attacker, a mousy woman with gangly legs and rat-colored hair, Suzy smiled smugly.
She reported her news back to her coworkers with glee, and each time she ended her story of Jane Farrell’s tragic first love, she punctuated it with two words and a wicked grin: Love hurts.
Author's Note: This piece of fiction was written in response to Write on Edge's Red Writing Hood prompt:
"Your assignment this week was to write a piece where you explore the first broken heart for your character – or for you."