Romance Fiction posted April 30, 2014


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Seize the moment.

The Water Globe

by Loren (7)

Sheldon Edwards sat in the evening light of his bay window and wrote in his journal:

This morning I purchased a water globe.

He raised his pen, letting his mind wander to the globe he had placed on a table nested in the window. Picking it up, he gently shook it. Flecks of silver swam in the crystal water, falling as rain over a woman seated alone on the edge of a fountain.

Gently, he placed the globe back upon the table and began to write again:

Silly to lose something so precious because you're too embarrassed to surrender your self-doubts and insecurities to them. That such arrogance could be so costly and God would bind it so tightly with regret.

I'd like to think Frances knew of my love...  
he raised the pen from the page, his hand trembled. He looked out the window and back to the journal. He began to write again:. but to have said it aloud, I would have stumbled, turning my feelings into...  he grimaced - embarrassed- at the words that came to mind.: some comedic farce.

Besides, there would be a tomorrow, there is always a tomorrow and those timorous things left unsaid today would garner strength and come forward with bold brilliance the next day or possibly the next.

She would always be there; I would always be there---does cowardice have a greater lie hidden in its soothing whisper; are we such fools that we constantly bend our ears to listen and believe?


Sheldon felt a fleeting pain in his chest. Ignoring it, he placed his pen in the crook of the journal and set it next to the water globe. Looking out the window, he allowed his thoughts to carry him back to a park bench in Holden Park. To a time never to be reclaimed, to a moment when the sentiments on his heart were shamed by insecurities. It had been a year ago, in June.

###

"What are you hiding behind that shy smile, Sheldon?"

"Nothing." His grin broadened. "Besides, if I were, it would wait until tomorrow."

Frances laughed. "For you there is always tomorrow. For me, I seize each moment." She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. "Taste the air, feel the sun? It gives one life now, makes life count." She looked at him. "You, you would wrap these moments in boxes and take them home to study."

"That's not fair."

"Maybe, but it's true."

Sheldon reached into his vest. His hand fumbled, stalled there.

"What?" Frances asked, watching him.

He blushed. "Oh, it's nothing. Just checking that I have my heart pills."

"You're much too young to have a heart condition."

He shrugged. "What would you have me do? It's congenital, inherited from my father's side."

"Then all the more reason to seize each moment."

"I have seized and held captive each and every moment since we met." He smiled. "That's what is in all those boxes you say I keep and study at home."

Her eyes found his. "What a lovely thing to say." She put a finger to his lips. "I do think you have a poet's heart, Sheldon." She glanced away. "This moment has gone by much too quickly." She rose and kissed him on the cheek. "But now I must be off. I promised mother to take her to the market." Her hand rested on his shoulder, warm from the afternoon sun. "I love you."

"Me, too." He took her hand and gently squeezed it, savoring its softness.

She studied him. "You know, I think you do."

"Let me walk you across the street."

"No, only to the fountain."

"Where I first saw you. You had just tossed a coin into its pool. I've often wondered about your wish."

She laughed. "There are some things a woman wants to keep to herself, Sheldon, but I can admit half of it has at last come true."

"And the other half?"

She smiled enigmatically. "Is still my secret."

Silently, hand-in-hand, they walked to the fountain. Sheldon's free hand went to his vest. "Frances?"

"Yes?"

"Oh, it's nothing. It'll wait..."

"Until tomorrow," they said in unison, laughing.

"I'll call you tonight." Sheldon said.

"Promise?"

"Promise."

He watched her walk away, her steps muffled by the hum of busy traffic outside the park. Moments later, he heard a screech of tires, a horn blast, and a scream. A moment of dreaded silence followed, then the inescapable thud of an impact. Screams became death's chariot, a clarion of finality.

###

The chime of a mantel clock brought Sheldon out of his reverie. Automatically, his hand went to his vest, feeling for the engagement ring he had carried with him since that day. The ring he had been hiding because he had been too embarrassed to show her in case she would have said no.

Bringing it out of his pocket, he opened the lid and placed the solitaire atop the journal, next to the water globe. Light from the afternoon sun reflected off the diamond's facets danced like fireflies in the water of the globe.

A sharp pain in Sheldon's chest caused him to gasp in pain. He fell forward, landing on the floor upon his knees. The weight of his fall shook the table holding the globe. The silver shards in the globe swirled in a shimmering mist around the lone figure seated on the fountain.

He reached to the table to pull himself up. The table tipped from his weight and fell. The globe, journal and ring plunged toward the floor. Gasping, he tried to break their fall. His hand clutched empty air. The globe shattered as it hit the floor, its silvery wet contents spilled over the journal. With his palm, Sheldon tried to wipe the wetness away. The words:" She would always be there; I would always be there---does cowardice have a greater lie hidden in its soothing whisper...?" smeared into a vaporous clouds over the page. The ink stained his hand.

The globe lay sideways, its shards standing jagged around the woman on the edge of the fountain. The diamond solitaire was lost among the broken fragments, the light of its unspoken pledge forever liquescent.

Sheldon grabbed at his chest one last time, tears burned his eyes. With a final gasp his body fell. And there was nothing, but the sound of rushing traffic in the street below.

###

After Sheldon's funeral, Clarice, his sister came into the room with her daughter, Sandra, to straighten the room. The base of the water globe was sitting on the table in the window. Clarice came to it and picked it up, cocking her head. "Odd," she said aloud.

"What's that?" Sandra asked.

"It's just that I was with Sheldon when he bought this in the Curiosity Shoppe down the street." She examined it more closely. "But if memory serves, it only had one figure sitting by the fountain. I remember it because the woman looked so lonely, but now she has a man sitting beside her."

Her daughter came to look. "I wonder why Uncle Sheldon bought it, him being a bachelor and all?"

"I think it reminded him of someone. It must have been special to him. I can't toss it out." She looked at it again. "You know, I think I'll take it back to the shop and see if it can be repaired."

"That seems very spontaneous of you, Mother."

"Maybe, but I think there are times in life when you must seize the moment to do what is in your heart. And for me, at this moment, it is what I feel I need to do.  And something, I think, Sheldon would have wanted as well."


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I did have an alternate ending but it seemed a bit too sad, so I opted for this one : )
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