A fracture in the heavy velvet of the curtains let a shaft of light into the darkened room announcing the break of a warming summer dawn. She smiled momentarily at the lack of dust visible in the beams and pulled the covers into her neck, nuzzling herself deeper into them. She felt behind her for the familiar mountain of covers and felt nothing but a cold and flattened landscape, void of life. She listened intently for signs somewhere nearby: a coffee machine whirring; a T.V. set blurring out the early morning news; the dog barking in the garden in an attempt to gain re-entry into the house after his morning adventure. She found solace in the sound of the shower running, suddenly able to distinguish between the gentle roar of the sea just below the balcony and the sound of the splashes of hot water running off her husband’s body. She smiled again as she remembered its contours, and in particular the masculinity of his face – the face that was the envy of the girls she had grown up around now far behind her, beyond the rolling hills.
Then she remembered that he was leaving again. He was catching an early flight – she had rolled his best ties neatly in his luggage the day before. She longed to go with him but had been assured that she would be bored there and how the last time they had a vacation their golden retriever hadn’t taken too kindly his vacation at the kennels. Besides, he had arranged for her to eat out with the wives of his business associates that evening. He was always thinking of her. She pulled off the covers and opened the the curtains to let the rest of the light in and looked out at the sea as she so often did. She found something comforting in the power of the waves and despite the danger, wondered what answers fought against the current to land themselves on the shore or crash against the rocky edge of the hills.
It was then she felt the presence of his breath, minty with mouthwash, feeling it crawl up the back of her neck, as he moved the gentle waves of her hair away with his hand, before planting a kiss in the empty space. He embraced her where she stood, resting his chin on her shoulder before spinning her around away from the window so that she was now facing him. He looked at her and she looked at the floor, coyly, smiling so that he could admire her and find her too cute to resist. She felt his palm against her cheek, slowly moving to her ear, placing her hair neatly behind it. Her eyes rose to meet his and he laughed, holding a small box in his hand, shaking it playfully as if he had made it appear by magic.
“Something for tonight,” he whispered gently. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
A warm flutter of butterflies rose in her chest, and she released them with a sigh of gratitude.
She obliged, excited to see the contents of his latest surprise. Diamond earrings that glistened in exactly the right way when the light hit them, her eyes widening at their beauty.
“They’re beautiful. Thank you.” She waited for him to embrace her, longing to feel the warmth of his body and the love in his squeeze as if he were desperate not to let her go but the start of an embrace was interrupted by the neat beep of a car horn on the street below.
“Car’s here,” he said. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
It did no better to comfort her than the first time he had said it.
“I know.” She said, trying to sound better than she felt. “I’ll be fine and it will be nice to see everyone and catch up.” She lied.
“Of course.” He patted his suit down frantically.
“On the dressing table.” She indicated to where his keys lay.
“You’re the best, Dana.” He kissed her cheek before the car horn sounded again, interrupting the moment once more.
She closed her eyes and sat gently on the edge of the bed as she listened to the front door shut tight, followed by footsteps and the rolling of wheels down the path, synonymous with the welcomed sound of a long and well-earned vacation. The car door slammed and the car sped off quickly as if it were the getaway car in a bank job. She thought about how she could do with either of the two to get out of going tonight as she rehearsed in her head her lines for the meal with the wives of her husband’s associates. She had had some practice and although it was something she dreamed of as a girl (as most young girls do at some point), acting hadn’t been part of the plan. It sure was worming its way in to her bag of tricks lately.
She looked down at the source of pain in her hand, her grasp on the diamond earrings she had taken out of the box, digging their sharp backs into her palms. They were truly beautiful. She should be happy with them – the girls back home would kill for something like this. She struggled to remember their faces, it had been that long; they had become ghosts, vague, like blurred photographs.
She was suddenly aware of the walls that surrounding her and searched the photos displayed neatly for a part of her she could connect with. They were full of just the two of them. Some of the dog they shared together, all were picture perfect. She should be happy.
She stood and placed the earrings in her drawer. Then she noticed something for the first time, as if the newest pair had bestowed upon her an epiphany: She saw no fewer than 30 pairs of similar diamond earrings before her, all lined up neatly in their display case, gleaming still despite the barrier to the real daylight. She should be happy. She had everything she could want. She opened up the laptop and read the emails again before breakfast as she often did. It wouldn’t last. This was the fifth woman to catch her husband’s eye since they had married 3 years ago. She didn’t know how she felt. She was still the one he loved, the one he came home to and surely she was the one that he bought the most diamonds for? Besides, everyone knows, that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, so what did it matter? They would kill for the things she had. She should be happy. She closed the lid and decided on eggs for breakfast with fresh salmon and perhaps after cleaning up the breakfast plates, she would take a walk along the shore and look out at the sea.