Tuesday, June 9, 2009



by Tracy Reed

        Jaime spotted the black heart shaped boxed sitting on the plate in front of her chair across the room as she returned from the restroom.  In all the years she and Andrew had been coming to Chez Maurice, she dreamed of the day she would be presented with a black heart shaped leather box as customary when a proposal was about to be made.  She knew from the screams heard throughout the bistro on their many visits, that an engagement ring was inside and another happy couple was getting engaged.  

       She and Andrew had discussed marriage and even sat in on some Newlywed bible classes at church.  When the question of rings came up, she immediately took Andrew to Harry Winston to show him her dream ring, a flawless two carat “F” grade heart shaped diamond on a platinum band.  Her eyes lite up as the jeweler let her try it on.  

      “Is that the one you want?” Andrew asked.

      “In my dreams, but in reality, whatever ring you choose will be fine.”  

       He nodded his head and that was the last and only discussion they had about engagement rings.   

      As she walked back to join Andrew she couldn’t stop smiling.  When she arrived at the table, he stood up, pulled her chair out and waited for her to sit down, before returning to his seat. 

      She couldn’t take her eyes off the beautiful little box.  She knew this day would happen, but she thought it was at least a year and a half away.  She looked around the romantic French restaurant filled with couples eating and engrossed in intimate conversation, wondering if any of them were getting engaged.  She looked to her right at the elderly couple sitting across from them, they were holding hands and sharing a slice of flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. Then she turned to her left and noticed that couple was oblivious to everyone else in the restaurant.  

      She opened the little box and staring back at her was a beautiful petite round diamond on a gold band.  The large smile was now reduced to a slight grin.  She looked up at him and his beautiful smile and knew she didn’t need an expensive ring to make her happy.  

      “It’s beautiful.”

      “Do you like it?” he asked.


       He stood up took the ring out of the box, got on one knee with his right hand behind his back, he took her left hand in his and began his speech.  

       “Jamie Elizabeth Morris, I have loved you from the moment I first saw you in Mrs. Jackson’s homeroom.  When you smile I feel my world is complete.  I asked your parents five years ago for your hand and your dad asked, “what about the rest of her?” They laughed and said yes and welcome to the family.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?”  

       She felt tears welling up in her eyes.  She took a deep breath and answered, “Yes.”

       As he eased the ring on her finger his large thumb covered the stone.  Once the ring was firmly placed on her finger, he clutched her hand in his, lifted it up to his mouth and kissed it.  Now they were officially engaged.  He let go of her hand as she held her hand up to admire the ring, she blinked her eyes, shook her head and screamed.  Andrew had switched the rings.  Instead of the petite round diamond, it was her dream ring, the Harry Winston two carat “F” grade heart shaped diamond and platinum engagement ring.

       She jumped up from her chair and threw her arms around his neck, flailing him around like a rag doll. 

       “Honey sit down.  Everyone is looking.”  

       She kissed him on the lips and returned to her seat.  “It’s beautiful.  But how can you afford this?  Please tell me you didn’t do anything insane.”

       “No, I didin’t do anything insane.  I started saving for your ring the first day I saw you.” 

       “That was seven years ago, when we were still in highschool.”

       “I know.  Have you ever wondered why I could never see you on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons?”

       “I thought you were busy studying or doing something with your family.”

       “You’re partially right.  On Wednesdays, I worked at a research lab and I spend Sundays with my grandfather and his roommate, at the nursing home.  His roommate had no family, so I adopted him.  Every week I go and the three of us talk about the women in our lives.  A few weeks ago, my adopted grandfather passed away.”

       “I’m sorry.”

       “Last week his attorney came to see me and gave me a letter from him.”

       “I don’t understand.”

       “In the letter he thanked me for being so kind to him and sharing our story.  He said it reminded him of he and his wife.” She looked into his beautiful light brown eyes and saw what the elderly man must have seen, love and the favor of God. “He went on to say, he instructed his attorney, when I was ready to go with me to Harry Winston and pay for the ring.  In closing he said every woman deserves to have her dream ring.”  He looked across the table and saw she wasn’t paying him any attention.  “Honey, did you hear what I said?” he asked.

      “Oh, I’m sorry, I was a little distracted”.  The light from the candle on the table bouncing off the diamond’s facets cast a spell on her. “So what were you saying?”

       He reached across the table took her right hand in his and smiling at her blue nail polish he said, “At midnight it turns back into coal.”

      “What did you say?” she asked.

      “I said, I love you,” he laughed.

      “And I love you,” she said talking to the ring.  He cleared his throat trying to get her attention.  “But I love you more sweetheart.”


"Shorts by Tracy" is a new feature where I post a different short story every month.  The shorts range from traditional to contemporary to edgy, but with a message.  I invite you to read the section every month and send your comments to: readtracyreed@me.com.

A list of story titles can be found in the "Shorts By Tracy" box.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009