Her finger still had the impression of the ring she wore.
That Christmas, she had trod through the deep snow, on a cold clear day to the post office. The houses still had garlands, the windows still had trees, the roofs still had Santas.
She still had the ring.
As she opened the door, the ice fell off her weathered boots and tinkled on the floor into a puddle where a rogue ray of sun shined. This drew the attention of the small town folk in line to return their own holiday gifts.
Their eyes looked at her like they knew what she was there to return. Of course, that was more her imagination than anything else. And of course, they probably did. Word travels fast here: “that girl who rejected a perfectly good man…shame.”
Cradling the small box wrapped in brown paper, addressed to him, she found herself sheepishly hiding at the end of the line. That awkward silence…where people are stuck together in a confined space, each secretly swearing at the customer at the counter who is taking forever to finish their turn – she took some deep breaths and observed.
She observed them. She observed her feelings. It really was the only way. She had found the strength to say no to something that seemed like an obvious yes to everyone else observing her life. And while there was nothing wrong with him, there was something wrong with them. Pretending that it was meant to be because it was expected to happen, wasn’t going to do either of them any favors in the long run.
It was the hardest no she had to say. But, it was the most important one.
She carried that no close to her chest, where once lay his head. One by one, the people in front of her moved, and there she was, handing it over.
She handed over her former future, return to sender.
Next stop: New York.
Years ago, I had started playing around with an idea for a story/book. I long forgot about it, lost the floppy disk (yes…that long ago), and I’ve wanted to resurrect it, and this is just a little draft attempt at that. Just whetting the appetite, so to speak. Feel free to pay no attention. 🙂