He called me his Queen. I never called him my King. Except once when he gave me a brooch.
“You listened?” I said. ” I thought you were asleep.”
One night, when the world was at its coldest and darkest, I awoke sweating from a nightmare. It was then I whispered my one and only story into his ear.
It was the story of my mother’s funeral. The time when all was sadness and my estranged, runaway sister broke into my home and stole the one family heirloom, the only thing that my mother had of any value. People didn’t believe it, they thought I’d lost it. Or pawned it. Because I wouldn’t phone the police. I couldn’t phone the police.
“Once I love someone I can’t stop loving them,” I breathed into his ear.
Weeks later he gave me the brooch.
“I know it’s not the same, but look at it and pretend you see what you need to see,” he said.
“Emeralds and diamonds.”
Years later I was somewhere I shouldn’t have been. I’d overslept, forgotten what I needed, missed my stop. And there he was in the hustle and bustle of the Station, too busy leaning into a delicately pretty, young woman to notice me. I walked as close to him as I dared. I looked at her, not him. There was something pinned to her coat. My heart stopped. My eyes refocused. It was a cheap badge advertising a band I’d never heard of. I breathed again. My fingers went to the brooch at my own lapel.
“Emeralds and diamonds,” I said loud enough for him to hear.
Then I continued walking in the opposite direction of where I was supposed to be.