They searched each other’s eyes and were unimpressed with what they saw.

“I don’t find you particularly attractive,” says the man.

“And I think your wit is vapid,” is the woman’s reply, “and your posture is embarrassing.”

At least they are in agreement. At least there will not be a pitiful show of unrequited affection. At least, at the very least, their lifeless conversation has provided carbon dioxide to feed the balding conifer trees which surround them here in this romantic park of all parks, John Muir. It is a January afternoon,  a Saturday. The noise of the freeway drones on beyond the tree line. That freeway never rests, bringing desperate winter travelers from one point to another. It brought them both here today, and soon it will take them off in opposite directions. It will be a relief for everyone, even those who never knew them. It will be a relief for you, if you can believe that. Can you believe that? Are you able to believe such a thing?

It is not a break-up, this exchange of callous, calculated words, and neither is it a chance meeting, a slightly obscured “How do you do?”.

“How do you do it?” asks the man.

The woman would smile if she had any lips, if she had a heart. She has a hand, and with a violent motion she shakes it in such a way that a leather glove falls off of it and lands on the snow between them.

“How do you do it?” the man repeats. Demands, “Tell me.”

With a shake of her other hand another glove is flung from her and rests inches from the first. On each of her fingers on both of her hands is a large diamond ring, each with a different setting, each a different size. She takes them off, one by one, and puts them in her mouth. One by one she swallows them. The man watches with tears in his eyes. They are both crying now, but for very different reasons.

“So long, you,” says the woman, once she has swallowed the last of the diamond rings. She leaves her leather gloves where they are lying, turns, walks away. She has not answered his question and never will.


Millions of cats. Millions and billions and trillions of cats.

I miss you Pepper.


7 Responses

  1. is it tacky to ask about this one?

  2. It’s never tacky to ask. This post was, for me, an exercise in clicking “Publish” instead of “Save” or worse yet, “Delete.” I was getting pretty gun shy this week about what I was writing, so this was where I finally said, “Just write something!” And this is what came out.

    I also miss my cat. Separate thoughts.

  3. well, I do like it anyway, its got something to it that makes it mysterious and so likeable, and its well written enough to not look ridiculous or pretentious, but is there specific meaning behind these things? I think i did figure out the meaning of the cats part, especially by the I miss you Pepper part)

  4. Maybe a little pretentious, though! I was thinking a bit more about this post and I think it may have been a reverse writing prompt, asking you (the readers) to craft the details that would have led up to this moment (whether you write them out or simply think them.) There are specific meanings in some small ways. John Muir is the park where I played softball growing up, and where our class would walk on the last day of school. It is the kind of park where such a dramatic conversation would seem very much out of place. Do you want to know about the diamond rings? Can that remain a mystery?

  5. ha, that can surely remain a mystery of course, if you want to keep it so.. So then the woman does represent a woman in a relationship, its not a metaphore to anything else, right?

  6. So, what’s your deal?!! ha ha!

  7. You are my deal! Thanks for your help…

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