52-Week Writing Challenge: Week 37
Flash Fiction: Word prompt – Mona Lisa smile
His chair was empty and cold just like the coffee he hadn’t drunk.
She stared at the cup of coffee, unblinking and unmoved, the Mona Lisa smile still gracing her face.
She tried to remember the words he’d said. Something about ‘not working’, ‘better as friends’, and ‘he’d met someone.’
He had said more, but she wasn’t listening.
She was remembering.
When he said he loved her.
When he said she was the one.
When he asked her to marry him and slipped the ring on her finger.
She looked down at her hand, the ring still in place, heavy and laborious.
He told her to keep it and remember the good times.
Instead, she remembered when he said he had to work late and turned off his phone.
She remembered him canceling their weekend trip to Vegas because the ‘big project’ at work was past due… and he turned off his phone.
Lastly, she remembered how he canceled their dinner… on her birthday… because of work.
And he turned off his phone.
She’d told all her friends she was spending her birthday with him and refused to sit home alone.
She went out to dinner and saw him… with her.
She didn’t know if it was a casual fling or a new beginning.
It didn’t matter.
It was over.
She went home and waited.
Waited for him to tell her.
She emotionally removed herself from the relationship.
She pulled away from his hugs and turned away from his kisses.
She knew she should walk away but she wouldn’t let him off that easy.
He had to say the words.
One day, he looked into her eyes and he saw it.
He left quickly… because of work.
Three days later, he called and asked to meet her for coffee.
And he told her… at last.
She never spoke but just sat there before him cloaked in serenity, Mona Lisa smile in place.
He stood to leave, leaning in to kiss her cheek.
She turned away… and he left.
Looking at the two-karat emerald-cut ring on her finger, a wave of sadness passed over her.
Not for herself but for the woman she replaced… and the woman who replaced her.
They were all members of a club by default. There would be no meetings, only dues paid in full. His new woman would pay hers soon enough.
Gathering her things, she stood and placed a ten-dollar-bill on the table for the coffee no one drank.
As an afterthought, she removed the ring and left it on top of the cash.
Heading for the door, she noticed new customers arriving with wet umbrellas and damp jackets.
“It’s really pouring out there,” an older man said as she walked past him.
Her Mona Lisa smile grew. She loved the rain.
She reached to push the door open and felt a tug on her other arm. Turning, her waitress stood next to her, holding out the ring.
“Is this your ring, ma’am?”
She shook her head once and said, “Not anymore,” and stepped out into the cleansing rain.