She sat on the bench watching the coming and going of people
traffic, rushing past her without one look her way.
She was there every day, all day, until at last she would leave
to find her place of sleep inside the train station in a dark corner
of a forgotten closet where she would curl up like a babe in the
womb with nothing but her mink coat and her diamond rings.
He would gather the cigarette butts from the ground smoking
the last bit down to the filter over and over again he would
look up and down the walkway never raising his head.
Just talking and looking and smoking. People would steer
far from him and still smell his rank odor.
He permeated like the stench from a garbage dump.
Perhaps that is where he found his latest pair
of worn pants, filthy with someone else's body fluids.
At night he would move from bench to bench being
awakened and prodded like a pig to move on by
the local security officer.
He and She were the left overs of society: the doggie
bags that were never taken home, the trash for the
incinerator or the garbage for the disposals. They
were the same in the view of those who past them
by quickly but they were different to each other and
She was once a party girl who was kept by the richest
of men who would call her for a good time and leave
her with presents and semen and promises of a life
of luxury. She believed them and was full of hope until
she was stricken by the disease of the unfortunate
He was a player, a gambler who made a bet on anything
and everything that was up for stakes. Once he had it all:
the fast car, the Rolex, the suits, the women who would
lust after him spreading their legs and their wallets for a
good time with him. He had it all until he was stricken by
the disease of the fortunate--Greed.
Both were lost. Both were hungry and both were alone.
She in her closet at night and He moving from bench to
bench trying to rest during the long dark nights in the
One day she emerged from her closet in the wee hours
of dawn and made her way down to the tunnels of the rails.
She went to her bench and there she found him lying
there sleeping. She looked at his face and watched as he
shivered in nothing but his filthy jeans and tee shirt.
Without a thought for herself, she took off her mink and
covered him, leaving him warm and richer. Inside
the pockets she placed her diamonds and before she left
she kissed his forehead tenderly.
She waited along side the tracks and when she heard
the sound of the train, she stepped closer to the edge.
When she saw the lights, she took another step.
And when the train was within feet of her, she jumped.
With the screeching of the wheels and the screams
of the waiting passengers, he awoke. He found himself
beneath the warmth of the mink coat. Wondering who
had done this for him, he reached into the pockets and
found two diamond rings. They had once belonged to him
He knew because of the engraving on the inside of the
bands. How did this happen? He was astonished to find
such a treasure would be left with him as he slept,
a bum in the hollows of hell.
And then he saw her, her body mangled and crushed
beneath the blackness of the train. As he pushed aside
the mass of onlookers, many of whom parted in fear and
disgust, he looked into the eyes of his beloved. The one
who took his gifts and his heart. She was the one who he
had hurt with promises and fairy tales.
He left her alone and broken. He had to for he was nothing
but a gambler who had no time for love. But, as luck would
have it, he needed her as much as she needed him. And
when he lost her, he lost himself in the abuse of what he
did to himself sinking deeper and deeper into the hole of
And now she lay dead.
He was still crying when he walked through the
pawn shop door.
And inside the rings were the words, Forever and Always.
Short story by Kathy Lockhart
Read 1264 times
Written on 2008-10-16 at 21:05
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