Her heart was beating fast as she swiped the card. It was a considerable amount. The dark-blue velvet box was wrapped in carefully with silver gift paper. The movement of the fingers was flexible and gentle. The woman in the jewellery shop knew how to treat items of this kind.
Inside laid the classic Montblanc ballpoint pen, which was going to be his first gift. The birthday present. She was overwhelmed by the thoughts. Still two months to go. Would she manage to not reveal the excitement and tenderness that is overflowing?
It was a nice two months occupied by a thought that could not be shared. Yet she never intended to share it, it was hers. Her possession. Her faint smile and sudden quietness might give a clue. A dreamy world.
It was cold in February, the snow thick and heavy. The town seemed drowned in the darkness. The atmosphere in the cafe was warm and cosy. She loved the contrast, she always did. It might be the only thing she loved about the winter months. This marked contrast of cold and darkness on the streets and the warmth and cosiness in the cafes.
Her right hand lifted the cup, the lights were glowing. She smelt it, with the heart pounding, she seeped the coffee slowly. Her left hand rested on the knees. Within it was the box covered with the silver gift paper.
“Yours.” she said as she was pushing the box quietly towards him.
He looked at her, she sensed the surprise behind his composure. She sensed the smile and traces of tenderness. She sensed all this fast enough before his expression turned back to its normal state, again he looked calm and composed.
He torn off the silver paper carefully and read the words on the cover. He did not open it but said :” it must have cost a fortune”.
She turned her head to meet his eyes, and said quietly: “ you are a teacher, and I think most teachers will have the need of a good pen.”
Again she traced the tenderness in his eyes. Warm and soft.
“Try it, see if you like it”.
He lifted up the pen carefully from the box, and moved it towards the candle. Then he wrote a few words on her notebook. It read “ A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever”.
Not until she became a Literature student did she realise that it was the opening line of the poem “Endymion” by the English Romantic poet John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821).
Years past, has it remained a joy to him, or has it turned to a sigh. A subtle remark of those years, just that. That faint smile appears on her face. It is the dreamy world that belongs to the past.
Thank you for reading, take care.
The pictures were taken in Xia Meng (China), Fredrikstad (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden) 2017-2018.