“You look good in that coat Henry,” complements Joseph his friend pouring hot water in his coffee cup.
“Thanks for the complement. I got it for less than half of it’s actual value at the auction, it is as good as new. I have fallen in love with it myself” responds Henry making up the coat.
It is a fine morning, the sun is already shinning high but the time is just 7:30am, the two are taking their usual breakfast, which is just bread and tea or coffee before leaving each for his work. Henry is a salesperson at the local car sales, while Joseph is a taxi driver. The two have been close friends from high school and they share an apartment.
The two get out of the house at the same time. Henry is in front and Joseph follows behind him, he locks the door.
“Do you have your key with you!” he shouts to Henry who is now a few meters from the apartment.
Henry dips his hand in his pocket to check for the keys. His come out with the keys and something he never knew was in the pocket. He looks at the ring for a few seconds and then looks back to Joseph. He quickly puts the ring and keys back into his pocket.
“What is it, you seem to be panicking?” questions Joseph
“Nothing I was just checking on my key, I know you hate being called home when you have your own business to finish,” answers Henry walking towards the taxi parked a few meters away.
Henry looks closely at himself in a mirror in the toilet. He looks all over to check if someone is watching. He dips his hand in his pocket and brings out the engagement ring, he looks at it closely and his memory runs a series of theories as to how the ring was forgotten in the pocket, how the auctioneers didn’t see it. He had bought the coat a few days earlier and it his first time to wear it.
“Whose ring is this, who is that person that has forgotten such a treasure and sent it for sale? Maybe the lady that he proposed refused to accept the proposal. Women! Those creatures are difficult to predict and know what they want exactly. How can someone refuse to marry such a gentlemen that sacrifice so much. This ring costs millions, if I’m to sell it today I will be filthy rich. So does that mean the guy was wearing this coat as well when he went to propose to the lady? Maybe he sold the coat with the ring in it to erase the memory. He surely wanted to do away with all that will remind him of the terrible day. Or maybe it was a mistake and very soon he will be looking for his ring…….”
Something chokes him and he coughs and the ring falls on the floor. He quickly picks it up and carefully puts it back in his pocket.
Henry sits close to the window in the train on his way home, he looks at the streets as the train moves from one street to the other. His mind is far away, he is still troubled by the mysterious ring in his pocket.
“Can I tell Joseph, what will his reaction be like? I know he will jump to say lets sell it, I know my friend loves money. Should I hide it from him? It will be my first thing to do such a thing for him, we are friends and we always tell everything to each other. Can I keep this from him, this will be my first secret but what will happen if he discovers it, surely I don’t want to ruin our friendship. Maybe I will say to him I have bought it for my girlfriend? This will be the worst of all lies I can tell, he knows I haven’t been in good books with Diana, it has been fight after fight, then suddenly I’m saying I’m marrying her that will be ridiculous. I have to find something convincing to say to him.”
He hits the back of the seat in front of him with his fist.
“Is everything okay?” inquires a lady sitting next to him.
Henry is startled he didn’t realize that he has got so emotional. He pretends he did not hear what the lady has just said.
The train slows down and finally stops. Henry looks gets up from the seat and walks to the door to get out of the train.
Henry opens the main door and walks into the empty apartment, Joseph is not yet home, he usually comes in late. He walks straight to his bedroom, he switches on light. He dips his hand into the pocket of his coat and it comes out without anything. He looks at his bed for some seconds his hands sweating.
“Where is the ring now? How is it that it has just disappeared like that? Maybe it is that lady on the train, it’s her! Thief! I will look for her till I find her!”
Henry throws the coat on the bed and sits with his holding his face like someone defending himself from being beaten. A few minutes passed without him taking any action, he is startled when his phone rings.
“Hello, Diana, sorry I’m not in the mood to talk, can I call you back later,” he answers the phone and hangs up.
“I woke up a lucky guy and that lucky suddenly goes. I will sell the coat so that I won’t have something to remind me of the magic ring. I love the coat though, the ring was not mine and it was never intended to be mine. I got it by mistake in the first place,”
“You look good in that coat Henry,” the words ring again in his mind.
Henry slowly takes his coat and puts it own again. He s pockets, searches all the pockets and there is another magic, the ring is in another pocket this time. A broad smile shines on Henry’s face, after all, his ring was there all this time, and he didn’t just check all the pockets.
Henry sits down and looks closely at the ring something he hasn’t noticed all along attracted him. It has a name on it. It has the inscription, “Sheila” on its inside.
“There you go Henry, the ring belongs to Sheila! How then am I going to sale it? Joseph’s girlfriend is called Sheila, maybe he bought it for her and put it in the wrong pocket. We keep our coats at the same place. Is it just a coincidence that another girl called Sheila is the owner of the ring? This ring costs a fortune; I know my friend wouldn’t afford it unless he has worn lotto. If it is Joseph’s, he will start looking for it, what am I going to say? Should I tell him of my lucky dip? Let me leave this to destiny otherwise my head will go marry-go-round. If Joseph doesn’t look for it I know it’s not his, and then I will sell it. I hate doing things behind my friend’s back but this is money, a lot of it for that matter and can he deserve a share just because he is my friend? Life has never been that easy and will never be. Thanks Sheila for refusing the marriage proposal I wouldn’t have been making money. Can I sell it or I keep it till I find my better half then I propose and give her the ring? No, a woman is not a good investment that I should put all that fortune, I have better things to do with my money.”
Henry puts the ring in small money box and hides it under his clothes.
Joseph arrives home later, Henry is already eating dinner. A small television on one of the walls of their sitting is showing soccer.
Joseph waves a hand at Henry and walks straight to the kitchen. He comes out a few minutes later with a plate of food and sits beside his friend.
“Is your team winning dude?” asks Joseph increasing volume of the TV.
“Huh” responds Henry who has been day dreaming and hardly watching the TV
“Dude, so you haven’t been watching all this time? How was your day?” asks Joseph.
“Fine” Henry answers without even looking at Joseph.
“I hope Diana is not being a problem again,” Joseph says carelessly.
“I have already dealt with her. Women sometimes try to be problematic but when you are a man you always find a way out,” answers Henry sarcastically.
They laugh out loud and shake hands.
Henry waits for some time facing an old jeweler examining the ring, smoking his cigar blowing the smoke up in the air. A white trail of smoke goes up until it disappears some few meters up in the air.
“This is not diamond,” says the jeweler with the cigar on still on his mouth.
“What do you mean? You mean this ring is a fake one?” queries Henry facing the jeweler closely.
“Sorry to say so. How did you get it?” asks the jeweler.
“That doesn’t matter now,” responds Henry taking his ring back.
“You can take it to another jeweler if you don’t believe me. That is just some crystal stone not diamond. You can sell it but won’t get much from it,” responds the jeweler.
Henry throws his coat on the bed and sits down facing down.
“After all what I thought was a treasure is not a treasure at all. Can I spill the beans to Joseph? What can I say now after I had decided to keep this a secret from him? Let me just leave Joseph out of this, otherwise if I tell he will and ask me to go out and sell the ring. I have been to the jewelers myself and cannot afford the shame of going back there with my friend with the same fake ring. After all it was not a mistake that the owner left it in the pocket; no one will bother with such a useless piece of jewelry. Some issues better remain secrets.”