Short Story:  A Writer’s Puzzle

My Shadow. Credit. Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, Photographer

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC, Contributing Editor 

There are no scientific formulas that I can apply to it. The “it” is a puzzle.  it may sound formulaic like a Hallmark movie. It isn’t. Not for me. I like putting puzzles together. But not when I’m climbing into a bed in which you need a small ladder to get to.  The puzzle was waiting for me there.

The person was the puzzle or piece of larger puzzle. And he always will retain that nature. I didn’t automatically climb the ladder to his bed.  Though I noted how aroused he was because of that.  Arousal takes me longer,

I saw him walk by, as I was leaving my job. I felt him turn, as I did, more out of curiosity.  He was attractive, in a dark kind of way, sexy and I could see he was hoping that was why he caught my look.  We locked eyes for a moment.

Have we met before?

No, I don’t think so, I answered almost in a whisper.  And just as I turned to leave, he touched my shoulder.

Wait, don’t go.

I really didn’t have to leave my office building.  It was early, the sun was still shining, the outside air was warm and moist.  I worked at 4 Times Square in New York City.  I was a part-time columnist for a magazine I loved.

Do I know you?  I asked as he smiled.

Probably not, but I would love to know who you are.  Has anyone ever told you that you bear a striking resemblance to Robin Wright? She was the actress in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, opposite Daniel Craig.

I chuckled and answered. All the time.  Thank you.

Well, Ms. Wright, my name is Brandon.  And your name?  Is it Robin?

Ha! No. Allison.

Well, Allison, Brandon Raprisco.  I work down the street as a free-lance photographer and your magazine is a client of mine.  It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. Here’s my card, if you are ever free, that is, if you are free, and would like to meet for a drink, please call me.  I am always in the area.

And without so much as a thought, this man slid his card into the front of my blouse reaching into my bra strap.  I grabbed his hand as he tried to pull away and held it tightly. We stood there for what seemed to be longer than appropriate. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with his hand. I let go.

I’m sorry, did I seem a little too presumptuous?

Ya think? I asked, smitten with his audaciousness.

Can I walk with you? 

Walk with me to where? 

Wherever you like, he answered.

You sparked my interest with that move.  Do you always slide your card inside a lady’s bra? 

If she’s wearing one.

And if she’s not? Her panties?


If she’s wearing any? I was starting to have fun with this mysterious man.

Yeah…he caught himself.

What was he going to say? We began to walk slowly down 4th Ave, unraveling this secret dance of acquaintance.

Can I buy you a cup of coffee or a drink sometime? 

Now is as good as ever, I told you that you sparked my temporary interest. 


Yeah. As you can gather, I usually don’t walk off with a strange guy that just put his hand in my blouse.  In fact, this is NYC, I don’t usually walk off with any strangers. But you are a photographer and that’s my avocation.

I don’t disagree……..we wandered over to an outdoor cafe and asked to be seated.  Since the pandemic, many of the cafes and restaurants had remained with outdoor seating.  And the weather was delightful, so we sat.

So, what would you like?

Well, I think just an Iced tea would be nice.

Our waiter came over and took our order, he ordered me a sweet-iced tea, presumptuous again, and a glass of pinot noir for himself.

I watched as he swirled his wine and took a taste, looking satisfied with his choice.

Is your tea, ok?

It’s sweet, I answered.

Ah…tell me about you.

What do you want to know?  I’m a writer, I continued, I am happily single.  I have no children and am a native New Yorker. And you?

Ok, let’s see, I take pictures, I too am single, but divorced, I have no kids and I am from Jersey. I live here, in the city, midtown.  

What kind of pictures do you take?

All kinds……nothing gratuitous if that’s what you are asking, people pictures.

I wasn’t asking……

We began to explore each other’s lives, places we had traveled to, connecting through the road to success working in the media.   He had some fascinating stories to share. As a photographer, Brandon told me about his trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, the poverty and sadness he had witnessed through the lens of his camera. He told me about his time in Iraq during the early 2000’s, the end of Saddam Hussein, how the war had lost the support of the American people due to the illusionary idea of weapons of mass destruction. And of the violence that arose there that he had seen.  I listened and watched as his dark eyes became tearful with pain.  He said when he returned home, he couldn’t shake off what he had seen and that he was unable to love or to laugh. 

We talked about the different ways we try to reconnect with ourselves.  He had practiced meditation to help get in touch with himself again, both spiritually and emotionally.  I listened to his journey and felt his sadness.

It was my turn, and the night was approaching, but we were still sharing, and so after he paid the check, we began to walk and continued to talk.

I told him that I had been assaulted as a young girl.  I didn’t know my assailant, but it rattled my world and I, too, looked for ways to recover from such viciousness. That was how I began to write. I had found the only way I could reconnect to the outside world was to write.  I wrote about my experience which led me to write more, to write about my relationship with myself and how although it took some time, years, to feel once again connected to the world around me and to look for things that brought joy in my life. That was how I began to write about the world.

Brandon, what brings you joy? I heard myself ask. 

This, he replied, now, talking with you so openly…and feel so comfortable with.  Haven’t been into meaningful relationships.  Since my divorce I have had relationships that were mutually beneficial with like-minded women. Just sex, where I allow a woman to live out her fantasy from seduction on, until we have both satisfied each other’s needs, and then move on.

The sound of it? Superficial…but…that was when I first leaned over and kissed him. And he kissed me back, long, sweet, and then passionately. He took my hand and he led me to his place, stopping to kiss me as we climbed the stairs into his building. He unlocked his door and I hesitated, as I stepped inside. His apartment was light and airy. It had that “lived in” feeling.

Would you like something to drink?

No, no thank you, but you go ahead.  I watched as he retrieved a bottle of wine and slowly opened it with a waiter’s screw.  I excused myself and asked if I could use his bathroom.

When I returned, he asked…Anything wrong?   

I smiled at him as I kicked off my shoes and began to slowly unbutton my blouse and dropped it to the floor, and then I slowly removed my skirt and let that drop to the floor, leaving my black lace bra and panties for him to explore.   I could sense his arousal.  He walked over to me, kissing my forehead, the tip of my nose, biting my lip gently, reaching into my lacey garments, pulling on my erect nipples while I ran my hand down his pants, loosening his belt, unzipping him, reaching in, and stroking his hardness, knowing where I could take this……until I said: 

I don’t usually do this, and I don’t know if I can do this…. unless… I whispered…and in that fleeting moment I pushed him face first against the wall and pulled out my heavy leather handcuffs.