The Shutters




The Shutters



I met Christopher at a birthday party. He approached me and immediately swept me off my feet with his funny and intelligent conversation. He is tall, has happy blue eyes, full kissable lips, and a laugh that comes straight from the bottom of his stomach. Christopher laughs with gusto! The night we met I could sense that he liked me too. He bought me drinks, laughed at everything I said, and his happy eyes twinkled when he looked at me. I knew I had him; he was hooked. Then, he left. He left the party without asking for my phone number. I was flabbergasted. But, Facebook to the rescue. Tagged in the same photo taken at the birthday party, Christopher found me and sent me a friend request. I guess Facebook was the phone call of the era. Many posts and text messages later (he did ask for my phone number eventually) we started hanging out. We went everywhere together. Christopher was my first text message in the morning and the last one at night.  We made each other laugh. We gave each other little gifts with special meaning. Once I missed an episode of NCIS (my favorite, since I love McGee) and Christopher left me a CD with the recording by my front door. We were each other’s dates for special events and celebrations. We had breakfasts together every Sunday. Christopher even wrote me a song: Miss Mojito. (That’s me! I am Miss Mojito.) My family loved him. His friends love me.


It took Christopher two years to kiss me. We shared a short, chaste kiss. Once.

“The dude is gay.” Explains my best friend Liz. But, being gay herself, she thinks that everyone is gay.

“He has commitment issues because of a difficult childhood.” My little sister announces. A Clinical Neuro Psychologist specializing in children behavior, she thinks that everyone has childhood issues.

“Christopher is intimidated by your intelligence, beauty, and education.” Says my Mami. But, she is my mother, and thinks that everyone is intimidated by her fabulous daughter.

I think Christopher is “just not that into me” like the book says.  Simple. But I always try to find the answers to the mysteries of life in the pages of a book. What do I know?

The problem is: I want more. I am in love with Christopher, and I want more. Christopher does not want more. He is not in love with me. With that knowledge, I came to the difficult and sad realization that being with him was causing me pain and sorrow. So, for my sanity, I ended our friendship. I needed to move on.

Months after I made the painful decision to remove Christopher from my life, a Category 4 hurricane warning was announced for Miami, Florida. Yes, I live in the land of palm trees, Paris Hilton look alikes, and hurricane warnings. I considered calling my old friend for help preparing my house for the rough weather. Christopher had always helped me with broken light fixtures or falling off closet doors. He had always been there for me. Unfortunately, re-establishing a relationship with him is not something my heart could endure.

 I am alone at home watching wet meteorologists share weather updates while holding hard to microphones they hope will keep them from flying away. My neighbors put shutters up to protect their homes, and the sounds of their hammering surround me.  I am scared. I have no idea of the condition of the sheets of plywood used to cover the windows that my ex-husband left in the garage. Are they rotten? Can I carry them myself? How will I lift the huge pieces of wood to the windows and doors? My eyes are red and swollen from crying. Whatever is left of my makeup is running down my face. My nose is stuffy and red; Rudolph has nothing on me. I am wearing an old Harry Potter T-shirt, pajama pants, and brown Crocks bedazzled with a pink lizard. My curly, red hair is going every which way. I am a mess. My pets look at me with disdain and want nothing to do with the embarrassing display. In the middle of my pity party for one, I hear a car in my front yard. I move the purple curtain that covers my bedroom window and look outside. Christopher’s gigantic white van is there. Why? I sent him away months ago. I ended our friendship when he could not reciprocate my romantic love and I could not handle the hurt. I shuffle myself to the living room and I open the front door. I stand there, in my disheveled state, gazing at the van. The driver’s side door opens, and Christopher’s tall self unfolds out of the van. He walks toward me. When I see his happy eyes twinkle, my heart fills with overwhelming love and gratitude. I run to him, tripping over my brown Crocs, and stumble into his chest. I tightly hold on to Christopher and begin to cry again, letting all my fears free. With Christopher holding me close, I feel safe.

“Why are you here?” I squeak to his stomach after what seemed like forever.

“Because I knew you would be scared,” he responds. Gently pushing me away to look down at my face, he smiles. “Let’s see about those shutters.” We walk toward the house together.

It has been almost seven years since the time Christopher came to my house to help me with the plywood shutters. (Soon after I installed the accordion kind that just require a slight effort to close.) It has also been almost seven years since I last saw him. The space in my heart that Christopher used to occupy is still there, empty. I am still in love with Christopher but have learned to move on with my life. I hope he has done the same and that his happy eyes twinkle wherever he is. One thing I know for sure; the memory of Christopher’s hurricane kindness will always be with me, no matter how easy the new shutters are to close.  



Marta A Oppenheimer


Marta A Oppenheimer is a twice-divorced woman searching for love in Miami, the land of palm trees, hurricane warnings, and Kim Kardashian lookalikes. In between dates, Marta is a published writer, graphic artist, spoken word performer, and a non-profit animal rescue group volunteer.

Marta’s stories have appeared on Chicken Soup for the Soul, Miami Living Magazine,, and performed on The Moth Miami StorySlam, Miami Book Fair, Lip Service Stories: True Stories Told Out Loud, Raw Storytelling: Live True Storytelling Show, and The Only in Miami Show on Jolt Radio. The short story, “Love in a Pumpkin”, became a short film and an Official Selection 2022 for the Havana Film Festival in New York City. You can follow her blog: and on Facebook: Email:

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post