The girl next to me is wearing earrings like the ones I bought for my love.
I suppose she’s a woman, not a girl, but it’s difficult to tell from the gray wool hat she wears indoors even though it’s a mild day. I’m trying not to notice any of her other characteristics since I am a married man after all.
The earings are a simple smooth stone, hers are azure, the same color as my love’s. It’s in the shape of a teardrop, with a plain silver border, though the border on this girl’s earing looks a touch more elaborate. I wonder if she bought them herself or if someone gave them to her, maybe a lover or even a friend. Maybe even her parents, but she seems like someone who wouldn’t wear much that they bought her.
The teardrop bulges more than my love’s earrings, almost as if it’s ready to fall. When she turns her head to the side I can almost see through the stone, like a marble. I can only see one side of her head so I guess I’m assuming she has a matching one on the other side. She may have worn only one for some kind of a fashion statement. I can’t think of what that statement might be other than ‘I lost my earring.’
I don’t know where my love’s other earring is. I remember it, lying beside her on the living room floor. It had popped loose and was lying near her shoulder when she collapsed. It’s been a long time since she fainted, and I was worried. One minute we were arguing and the next she was on the ground, her face blank and unseeing. Her eyes were dry, not even producing a single tear. I remember looking at that earring and thinking it was the tear she couldn’t shed, in those terrible seconds that felt like hours before she regained consciousness.
She smiled at me, her face so warm after being so cold. She could see the worry, the tears I wasn’t shedding, and she wanted to make me feel better. Her own feelings would take hold later, concern and worry and shock, but in that instant I was all she cared about, and she was all I cared about.
Sitting here month’s later I can’t forget that moment. I’ve bought her a couple of pairs of earrings like those since, one black and one green, but I’ve never found that blue one. It might have gotten kicked under the couch when EMT’s came. I might have picked it up and put it somewhere without remembering. Or maybe somehow it wound up with this girl, so they could remind me to not spend all my time alone in coffee shops.
Do you think it’d be weird if I leaned over and asked her for it back?