golden

8 Apr

He placed it on the ebony bookshelf and walked away.

*********

“George. Darling. Don’t be like this! You knew it was coming sooner or later.”

“Oh, so that makes it alright? Really, Sally, can you honestly say you feel no guilt for this? Look at me–” he locked her chin between his palms and stared her down, then growled, “LOOK at me, right in the eyes, and tell me you feel no remorse. SAY IT! SAY IT NOW!”

Salt water streamed down his palms as Sally sniffled pathetically. Huge lumps of mucus threatened to leak out her nose. He released her puffy red face and wiped damp dark mascara-smudged hands against his pants. He turned away from her, closed his eyes and breathed in and out.

“George. You and I both know that what we have–had–was never going to last.” Her timorous voice grew confidence, and she even dared to give a blunt laugh. “I mean, Lord, it’t not like either of us thought we were soul-mates! I know what I did was wrong, but can’t you just forget about this? Forget all of this.” George heard her take two steps toward him, then felt her cool soft skin caress him. She stroked his arms and head and finally wrapped her arms around his waist. She spoke with her right cheek leaning against his back, like a pillow. “Remember that night at the river? How you sang to me songs about the stars? How the boat lights in the distance made the river look like it was made of gold? Do you remember that, hon?”

George nodded slowly.

“I do too.” She was quiet for a long time after that. They both just stood there, wondering what was to come. Then her voice came back, lilting and melodious, whispering. “I’ll always remember the… the golden days.” She paused to smile to herself, then continued, “No matter what happens from here on out, nobody can take away what we two had.”

George inhaled deeply, and gently unwrapped himself of her embrace. He reached in his pocket and withdrew a ring, simple and unadorned. Sally couldn’t help but gasp as the modest golden morsel glimmered. He looked at her for a moment without saying a word.

He placed it on the ebony bookshelf and walked away.

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