[Copper Ring, 877 words, Genre: Mind Fudge]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
She just turned twenty-four. She was the sweetest thing you have ever seen. With her brunette locks, sitting straight along her face and lighting up her pretty smile like a picture frame. She worked in the building where the food was kept, or in other words the supermarket. It is often said that a man will pick the line in the checkout with the person that they find the most attractive. And for that fact alone, her service line was always full up. She was always full of smiles and cheery sentiments. And the men that admired her would all be kind in return. It was an odd spectacle to behold. The young woman was the beauty of the local town. She was not attractive enough to be a model or anything along those lines, however, she was attractive enough to gather the attention that she had earned.
Leon stood in line waiting to be served by her. Oh, glorious her. He knew nothing about her, but after a hard day’s work, he needed a bright smile to cheer up an otherwise dismal day. And so he waited patiently in line to wait for his two seconds of surface conversation. Just so that he could go home and get some sleep for another day of work.
She called out, “Next.” To signal for the next person in line to be served. As Leon looked around, he discovered that it was him.
Leon walked up to the service line, “How are you today?” He asked, wanting to go into deeper conversation. Wanting to explore the intimacies of her soul. But from a service counter, he was somewhat restricted by taking any such action.
And so as he stood there as she scanned his grocery items through an electronic scanner. He, himself, did some scanning. And when his field of vision went to her hands. Her soft and supple hands, holding a bottle of milk and placing it into a bag, he saw that she wore a ring. He thought to himself that she must be taken and inside a little piece of him died. All of his fantasies and dreams of getting to know one another broke off and drifted down a river, a river that was filled with sailboats that carried away all the lost and defeated dreams. And that river was always full because there were always so many broken and defeated dreams of individuals.
He inspected the ring and gave it some thought. It was not one of those regular engagement rings. Those regular engagement rings that had a diamond encrusted into the surface, or one made up of gold. The ring was copper. This ring was not regular. In this day and age, what partner would prescribe such a beauty a copper ring?
And so he picked up his groceries, went to his car and went home. He turned on the radio that evening and sat down listening to the music that played out from the radio, attempting to find some sort of meaning to the irregularity. ‘A copper ring?’ He thought, ‘Who gives his woman a copper ring?’ If it was one of those regular rings he would have just dropped the issue, however the irregularity created a mystery and behind that mystery, Leon had to discover the truth behind such events.
Instead of casting his dreams of intimacy aside from the protection of societal values. This just seemed to create further inspiration for pursuing her. So after work the next day, he went back to the supermarket. There, once again, he waited in line and waited to be served. When it was his turn to be served, he looked at it once more, she still wore that copper ring. And instead of saying something like he wanted to. He just stared at the thing. The thing sitting on her hand, on her finger. She noticed that he was staring at it and asked him, “Are you okay sir?”
He shook himself up, shaking the feelings of unease away attempting to break the illusions that that pretty face had helped create, “Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine.” He had lied. He had lied so that he didn’t burden her with his own fantasies and imaginings.
After that he waited outside the supermarket. Waiting to figure out what was going on. Trying to find out the mystery that surrounded this young woman. If she was picked up by her man, he would find out, and once he found that out, he would find out what sort of man gifts his girl with a copper ring. He sat outside, smoking a cigarette and drinking a bottle of mineral water. He waited around until she had finished her shift at work. Then, as he sat in his spot, drinking his mineral water and smoking a cigarette, he saw that she was not being picked up from work and she was simply walking home. What the hell was going on?
The next time he went into the supermarket, he asked her about it, “What’s with the copper ring?”
“Oh, this,” she stated, “I bought this for myself on my birthday. Why’s that?”
“Listen,” Leon felt relieved, “Do you want to hang out sometime?”
“Sure.” She said with a smile.