The Prince

3 min
Image of Short Story
Today, Monday of all Mondays, she slumps on the frigid bench without brushing off the deep snow. All that moves in this bitter air is her breath. His fresh emotional manslaughter swirls through her mind. She embraces the long black cashmere coat he gave her to keep warm.
This haven makes her feel special when her mood is miserable. Her favorite city view, it showcases a magnificent tower of boutiques, offices, and elevators, all encased in glass. Here, she can observe the world but not be a part of it.
Once, she had warm linen-clothed luncheons with him. Now, during her break, she eats from hypothermic brown bags on cold steel. Saturday’s slaughter gave her this sentence. Repeatedly, she scrutinizes their date. He had peered up from the menu with wide eyes.
“You can have anything you want,” he offered.
“Anything?” She stared at him.
“You’ll find someone,” he said. Tears absorbed into her paper menu. She took his silk pocket square offered over the china and crystal. Their waiter discretely endured; unwary diners chatted away. She nodded as a proxy for “thank you.” She could see a painting of a woman with a pensive expression looking at her. Sipping her water made her ill.
Trying to forget, she feeds the remainder of her meal to the mourning doves.
The next day, her new igloo-like “lunch date” awaits her. She recalls her first meeting with him at the spirit store moments before the al fresco jazz festival. Arms crossing, reaching for wine bottles. He enlightens her that his smooth vintage is superior to her dense choice. She yields while staring at the intentionally exposed label of his bespoke jacket.
How he invites her to the event VIP tickets as she fumbles with a folding chair that she brought. The entire experience feels like heaven!
Throwing bits of her sandwich on the ground, she returns to work.
As she wipes a spot to recline, she wonders, Do I have to bother him so much? Calling to convey my cat’s shenanigans or a funny cartoon. He has a demanding job, after all! I wouldn’t call me for weeks either! Her thoughts change the vibrational frequency of the bench. No doves come near. She’s so morbid, they feel it.
The lining of the expensive coat he gave her has begun to tear, adding to her misery.
The snow pile on the seat presses against her body, and it hurts; her aura matches the black slush on the ground. Examining her workmanship on the coat’s torn interior, that offending café is in her sight through bare trees. Turning her head, she rests her eyes on the quaint book store they frequented. It has the best in bound volumes. He would persist for hours, choosing the “perfect” literature for her.
She struggles through his last choice that weighs down her purse.
The bold birds peck in front of her.
The next day, rushing to the bench, she grasps the package that he’d just sent to her office. He wants to reconcile! It’s a ring! Standing, she rips it open. It’s the lost Hermès scarf he gave her on a carriage ride. Transfixed, she wraps it around her neck and daps her eyes with one end.
Luckily, no one saw her sign for the package delivery.
She considers yesterday and kicks the frozen mass off the seat, sending it flying. She doesn’t care who notices her from the clear elevators. The coat’s inner lining makes an audible tear. He didn’t have the decency to include a note! Only a receipt from the dry cleaner with that delivered rag!
The bench feels consoling as she takes a bite.
The next day, she cleans the seat with one fast swipe and sits down. Hot soup steams the air as she realizes he never met her friends. Oh, sure, it happened once by chance. At her age, the family thought him a figment. The coat keeps tearing, no matter how fast she mends it. Even the tailor couldn’t save it now.
The birds eye for the freshly baked bread in her hand. She doesn’t share.
At noon, she attempts to finish reading the tome he ascribed to her. She sees familiar faces on the elevators and knows the time. Surmising they have lives makes her feel lonely and invisible.
Her mind drifts. Yes, he did it in public to avoid a scene. Meticulous and spotless, as usual.
The wind blows the flap of her coat across the bare bench. The inside is now ripped beyond repair. Had she acted sooner, this wouldn’t have happened. Safety pins litter the coat’s gash. She takes care to hide them.
She scarcely gets through a paragraph.
From the seat, she discovers early buds near the new restaurant she wants to try. He had refused, citing its “riff-raff fixins bar.”
She watches someone grin and walk out the transparent doors carrying a gigantic box of flowers and fine chocolates.
She realizes they never patronized this building.
The weather becomes prematurely sweltering. Outgrowths obscure the café’s façade. Her bench, now slushy, requires newspaper beneath her and the lunch sack. She sweats in her heavy coat next to white blossoms and strollers in light clothing.
An ethereal presence in the elevator gently draws her glance upward from the bench seat. This earth angel, wearing a cropped pink trench, beams down at her.
She casts off the suffering coat and shoves it into the garbage can along with his book.
Spotting her co-workers, they motion for her to join them at the new restaurant. For good, she scatters her entire fare on the ground for the mourning doves.
Deciding it’s his karma, she walks forward with Zen anew.

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