The Dinner Present
They had been meeting in secret for weeks.
It wasn’t exactly an affair, but it certainly wasn’t on the up-and-up.
The sexual tension, the knowing looks, innuendos… they’d been going on steadily. No barriers, though, had been breached thus far.
He didn’t know, but tonight was going to be different.
She was acting a bit nervous all evening, and he didn’t understand why. He thought that, perhaps, she was having more trouble than usual with her husband. He knew for damned sure that things were as dead as ever with his wife.
They ordered their appetizers and meal, as usual, but she was silent tonight. He joked to lighten the mood. She smiled and looked down at her plate and then up at him.
“What?” he said.
She drew her upper lip down over her upper teeth and pulled it in tight, as if to contain her words, the way she did when she felt shy and restrained. He thought it was adorable. It was a child-like thing to do.
She shook her head in that timid little way she did when she was being coy. He loved that too.
“Nothing,” she said, and stabbed at her appetizer with the fork and put it into her mouth so she could chew and not have to say anything.
In the middle of the entree, however, something in her broke.
“I have to tell you something,” she said.
“What?” he asked.
She reached down into her purse and pulled out an ornate wooden box and held it on her lap, looking down at it, her upper lip pulled down and tight against her teeth, again, this time with more pressure making her look a bit silly but very, very cute. Her upper lip became very thin and turned white.
She stayed like that for a while.
He tried to speak but she shook her head, indicating that he should remain silent.
She took a deep breath, raised her shoulders, let them drop with an exhale, and looked down at the table in front of her. Then she nodded to herself and looked directly at him.
“This is for you,” she said, and she put the box in front of him. “I’ve felt this way about you for a very long time.”
“I don’t…” he started saying, “I don’t understand.” He looked very concerned as he said it, looking first to her, then the box, and then to her again.
She smiled and nodded quickly. “Just open it.”
He opened it slowly and looked down at the contents of the box, and his face filled with a mixture of confusion, surprise, gratefulness, hope, and love.
He looked at her.
“I never knew,” he said.
“How long have you felt this way?”
“For a very long time.”
“OMG. I didn’t know… I knew you liked me and I liked you, and I’ve always loved your company but….”
She looked hurt. “You don’t feel the same?”
“No!” he said, “I mean, YES! Yes! I do. I don’t feel differently. I just….”
He reached into the box, and removed what it contained with his right hand.
It was a silver handgun, with a pearl grip.
He looked at it, then he looked at her.
“I love you,” he said.
She smiled and nodded to him, understanding that he meant that he had always loved her.
He then took the pistol, placed it at his temple, and pulled the trigger.
“I know,” she answered.