Heartbreak and Humiliation

Dark view of man's face with tear track. Lower half of picture is in red with the word "broken" above a drawing of a heart.

Esther May Wants Someone Else

A deep ache squeezed his lungs and clamped C.J.’s chest. The hurt settled where he thought his heart must have quit beating. Esther May was more beautiful than he’d ever seen her, but it was for Ramón.

C.J.’s eyes stung. She’d never gussied up for him that way. Esther May showed her hand when he asked if she wanted to leave, and she scolded him for not behaving.

Rubbing His Nose In It

He was invited to this Mexican ranch to make sure he knew the score. What proper folks said to come on by but take a bath and put away your gun? That woman sitting there, Doña Maria, only said it to make Esther May think Ramón was a better choice. And Esther May was acting as if she agreed.

Too Proud To Stay

C.J. felt his face contort as he glared at Doña Maria. He hoped it was a sinister smile and not a grimace. Now was a good time to use the word he learned from Roberto. “I reckon I’ll leave.” He pointed at Ramón. “I’m not gonna be your piñata like anvil-head here.”

This time, Ramón did not stop when Doña Maria yelled at him. He rushed and C.J. swung a hard right hand—and missed.


Ramón ducked under the swing and body-slammed C.J. to the patio floor.

The mass of arms and legs was never in a real fight. C.J. had the wind knocked out of him when he hit the ground with Ramón on top.

Even in that position, C.J. listened for Esther May to cheer him on, or at least protest on his behalf. Shame hit him as hard as Ramón’s fist. He was giving a poor account of himself and Esther May didn’t care.


He wanted to conquer mountains for her, and here he was for all to see, unable to defend himself as Ramón delivered several more punches.

C.J. heard Doña Maria yell again. Ramón stopped fighting but not before sending a boot to C.J.’s rib cage.

The pain of a hot iron stabbed C.J. where Ramón’s kick landed. Right where the arrow wound was healing. C.J. gasped and grabbed his side feeling the wetness on his shirt. It hurt too much to sit up, but he couldn’t lie here on the ground in front of Esther May.

Pressing his side with one hand, he rolled to his knees and got to his feet. His nose was running. He hoped it was blood. Being bloodied in a fight was one thing. Getting tearful enough for his nose to run was too awful to contemplate.

Making Sure He Knows It

Ramón sneered. “You’re no man, not even a good piñata. You break easy. Your blood should be yellow.”

C.J. wanted to hit the cowboy, shoot him, and grind a boot in his face. For the first time, C.J. took note of Ramón’s build. A sturdy, muscled body was evident under his shirt. Maybe that’s what Esther May wants.


C.J.’s side hurt, he’d have black eyes and a swollen nose, but the suffering in his chest was sharpest and the wound he wouldn’t get over. He picked up his hat and turned to leave.

No one called after him.

It was true. Broken hearts were real.

Will Esther May view C.J. as a humbled failure? Leave a comment now.

According to this article, people can suffer broken-heart syndrome.

To read the series click on the down arrow in the Archive list, start with Tales Old Roy Told and work up.

Writing Fiction is published on Wednesdays.

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