Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Embarrassed (07/19/07)
TITLE: The Water Globe
By Loren T. Lowery
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This morning I purchased a water globe.
He raised his pen, letting his mind wander to the globe he had placed on a table nested in the window. Picking it up, he gently shook it. Flecks of silver swam in the crystal water, falling as rain over a woman seated alone on a park bench, watching a nearby fountain..
Gently, he placed it back upon the table and began to write again:
Silly to lose something so precious because you’re too embarrassed to surrender your self-doubts and insecurities to them. That such arrogance could be so costly and God would bind it so tightly with regret.
I like to think Sarah knew of my love, but to have said it aloud, I would have stumbled, turning my feelings into some comedic farce.
Besides, there would be a tomorrow, there is always a tomorrow and those timorous things left unsaid today would garner strength and come forward with bold brilliance the next day or possibly the next.
She would always be there; I would always be there---does cowardice have a greater lie hidden in its soothing whisper; are we such fools that we constantly bend our ears to listen and believe?
Sheldon felt a fleeting pain in his left arm and he placed his pen in the crook of the journal. Ignoring a vial of heart pills on his desk, he sat back, allowing his thoughts to carry him back to less than a year ago; nudging him back to Holden Park. To a time never be reclaimed; to a moment when the sentiments on his heart were shamed by insecurities.
“What are you hiding behind that shy smile, Sheldon?”
“Nothing.” His grin broadened. “Besides, if I were, it would wait until tomorrow.”
She laughed. “For you there is always tomorrow. For me, I seize each moment.” She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. “Taste the air, feel the sun? It gives you life now, makes life count.” She looked at him. “You, you would wrap them in boxes and take them home to study.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Maybe, but it’s true.”
He reached into his vest, hand fumbling. “What?” she asked, watching him.
He blushed. “Oh, it’s nothing. Just checking that I have my heart pills.”
“You’re much too young to have a heart condition.”
“Congenital, inherited it from my granddaddy.”
“All the more reason to seize each moment.”
“I have seized and held captive every moment since we met a year ago. That is what is in those boxes I keep and study at home.”
“What a lovely thing to say. I do think you have a poet’s heart, Sheldon. Thank-you. But now I must be off. I promised to take mother to the market. She rose as he rose and kissed him on the cheek. “I love you.”
“Me, too.” He took her hand.
She studied him. “You know I think you do.”
“Let me walk you across the street.”
“No, only to the fountain.”
“Where we first met?”
“And where I hold my own secret,” she said, coyly.
As they approached the fountain, Sheldon’s hand went to his vest. “Sarah?”
“Oh, it’s nothing. It’ll wait…”
“Until tomorrow,” they said in unison, laughing.
“I’ll call you tonight.”
Those were to be their last words together. Moments later, above the hum of traffic, he heard a screech of tires, a horn blast, a scream and finally the sound of the impact of a crash.
The chime of a clock brought him out of his reverie. Automatically his hand went to his vest, feeling for the engagement ring he had carried with him since that day. What he had been hiding that day; too embarrassed to show in case she said no.
Bringing it out of his pocket, he opened the lid and placed the solitaire next to the water globe. Light from the afternoon sun reflected off its facets and the light danced like fireflies in the water of the globe.
The pain shooting from his heart was intense and final. The weight of his fall shook the globe. The silver chards swirled, filling the water like sea mist. And, through the watery curtain, a couple soon appeared, standing next to fountain. He was down on one knee; she had a hand clasped to her heart. The evening light embracing them forever in the moment.
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