His guilt always took the form of diamonds.
This was how she knew when he had been with another woman. The next morning there would be a sparkling apology waiting next to her coffee cup.
I prefer words.
There was a vast collection now, a fortune in fact, lining the velvet boxes stacked in her custom designed closet next to the designer purses and dresses.
She never, ever wore the jewelry. To do so would be to acknowledge, to give permission to, his infidelity… something she swore she would never do.
So day after day, week after week, year after year, she waited while her hatred grew. She had no family, no children, no skills, no education… no independent finances. Thus, she endured his touch, biding her time. The trophy wife who was no longer a trophy.
Finally, the day came.
Heart pounding, she loaded all of his guilt up into two large suitcases and took them downtown to a jeweler for appraisal.
It made her nervous carrying that much “money” in public. She glanced around furtively as she lifted the suitcases out of the trunk of her sports car and during the short trek across the parking lot, sighing in relief as she stepped through the door.
The young woman at the counter stared at her suspiciously when she explained what she needed.
You are still pretty. Just wait. The 40’s will come for you, too, and then you will understand…
Anticipating a life of luxury from the proceeds, she fidgeted anxiously as she waited.
The gray haired man in the back had deep creases in his face. He sat hunched over a workbench, examining each piece carefully in turn while squinting through his jeweler’s loupe. Sometimes he would glance up at her before picking up another item.
When he had examined each one, he bundled everything back into the suitcases almost carelessly and brought them back out to her.
She felt a horror and dread rise up from within, even before he spoke. He held pity in his eyes, as if he understood why she was really there but knew some other terrible secret.
He waited a moment, then spoke.
“Those are not real diamonds at all….”