It had nothing to do with him and everything to do with him.
He was a jeweler. That’s what he did, he fixed jewelry. Sometimes beautiful pieces, sometimes simple pieces. And sometimes…stolen pieces.
The afternoon was hot and humid, the small air conditioner giving its last hums of life.
Suddenly, a man walked in, the small bell on the door tinkling. The jeweler looked up.
The man was sweating profusely. “Nervous” the jeweler thought. He’d seen his share of hold ups throughout the years.
“How can I help you, sir?” he asked.
The man had his hands in his pockets. He looked at the jeweler and pulled out his left fist “I need to know how much this is worth”.
Inside his fist was a beautiful diamond ring. It was white gold with a single large diamond.
Zoe looked everywhere. She looked again where she’d already checked. She had taken it off for only a second to wash her hands. Hadn’t she? And now it was gone. What would she tell David?
She got down on all fours and checked under the sink. Nothing! Or had she taken it off at her desk? Jesus, she couldn’t remember. She ran back to her cubicle, checked and rechecked everywhere. Under papers, over papers, in draws she knew she hadn’t opened. She shook everything out of her purse. And then she just sat down and cried. She would have to tell David. David had been so distant lately. Quiet. She thought it had to do with losing his job. Maybe she wouldn’t tell him about the ring. She’d just say she was getting it cleaned or something.
David wiped his brow. The jeweler stared at the ring. “This isn’t a pawn shop; this is a repair shop”.
“I just want to know what it’s worth” David replied. That morning, Zoe had been late for work. She worked at a small marketing firm. She was nervous because she had a big presentation that day. He had known and had purposely turned off her phone where she had set her alarm. When she suddenly woke up he pushed her through the morning trying to get her out the door, his eye on her engagement ring the whole time. She never left without it. This was his only chance. It had worked! She had left in such a rush that she had forgotten the ring.
Madeline was rushing home from the supermarket. The traffic was stop and go. She was planning the whole evening in her head, excited. She would put the pasta water to boil, while she made the sauce. And she would make the special salad that he loved. Then she would take a quick shower and smell nice for him when he got home. It wasn’t an anniversary, but it was a month-iversary. She had promised herself that she would never let it get boring. Today was six months since they’d gotten married. Her favorite song came on the radio, and she sang along softly.
The jeweler took the ring and looked at it closely. “I’d have to do some tests”.
“Well, can you do them?” David asked nervously.
He was sick of Zoe. He wanted out. He needed cash. The ring was the only chance for that. The bank account was shrinking steadily since he’d been out of a job. But if he made her think that she had lost the ring… He could just sell it or pawn it. That was a good ten grand at least…
The jeweler looked at David. “Why would you sell this ring? No one will give you what it’s worth”.
“I need the cash” David said.
The jeweler looked at the desperate man. Maybe he could make a little on the side for himself. The man looked nervous enough.
“I’d say about eight grand,” said the jeweler.
David stared at him. “That’s impossible. That’s what I paid for that ring five years ago”.
The jeweler stared back. The ring was easily worth 15, 000 dollars. “I’ll give you eight grand, no questions asked. You go anywhere else; they will ask for some proof of purchase or insurance”.
“Make it 10 and you have a deal,” said David.
“Eight and not one more penny,” said the jeweler. He knew the man was desperate. He would not go higher.
Zoe wiped her eyes. She gave up looking for the ring. It was lost. Suddenly she couldn’t even remember if she’d put the ring on this morning with all the running around. Maybe it was still at home? Why hadn’t her alarm gone off? She was sure she had set it the night before. Everything was weird today.
Madeline looked nervously at the clock on the car panel. It was getting late. She needed to get home. She wanted everything ready by the time he got home from work. She had even bought some flowers to set up at the table. “It will be perfect!” she thought and smiled.
David grabbed the ring from the jeweler. “You’re a thief and you know it!”
“Touché” said the jeweler as the little bell on the door rang again.
David ran out and got in his car. He had seen another jewelry shop a few streets back. Maybe he could make it before they closed for the day. He was furious! He was desperate! The traffic light changed from yellow to red. He accelerated. No time to stop. He needed that money today! He needed to get away!
Madeline was singing along with the radio just as a sudden thunder of metal and glass smashed right into her.
David didn’t have time to hit the brakes. He stopped by smashing into Madeline’s car. Both died instantly.
New love and illusions. Old love and disappointment. All died that day.
The ring flew out the window of David’s car and disappeared into a sewer.
The flowers flew out the window of Madeline’s car and landed on the curb.
The jeweler closed his shop for the day thinking “I bet he’ll be back for the eight”.
Lives entwined by the threads of destiny.