The flash of light caught his attention. He stopped, his feet on each side of the ring. It lay on its side, the band caught in the dip between the paving tiles. Around him the commuters flowed, their path split by his stationery figure. A shoulder bumped him and then another. He bent and picked the ring up, grasped it tightly in his fist and moved to the side of the passage, muttering ‘excuse me’s to the constant river of bodies heading to the commuter trains. He reached the quieter space hard against the wall, and leaned against the bricks while his gaze quartered the floor. In the snatched views between the pounding feet, he looked for a container, a broken box, something that had once held the ring.
There. A gap in the crowd revealed a small box near the opposite wall. Waiting for a gap he changed sides and retrieved it. Inside the satin lid he read “Abercrobies Fine Jewellery, High Street’. In the dim lighting of the passage the ring sparkled as he slid it into the empty slit.
He needed a diamond ring to convince Kathy he loved her. She’d said so. “Prove it to me,” she’d said. “Buy me a ring.” He’d thought her instruction lacked love but what did he know of women and their ways? This was his first foray into the emotional dance of courtship. He may not get another chance as good as this. A ring like this would convince Kathy of his devotion, wouldn’t it?
Then he remembered Anthony Trollope’s quote. He’d been reading a lot of Trollope lately. What was it again?
‘Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it’
He certainly couldn’t afford Kathy, that much he’d learned in the last few weeks. Ah well, if she loved him she’d wait till he saved the money. If she didn’t wait then she wasn’t the one. He turned against the flow and headed back to the main street, turning right to find the jewellers further up the road. He clutched the box , not risking it dropping through the hole in his pocket.
To steal another’s dream would only bring him more bad luck.
BY VIRGINNIA DE PARTE