The Ring and More
The next morning after breakfast that included a badgering about the box by Arlene Ted went back into his office and grabbed the box. He tucked it in his lapel pocket and left for school.
Midway through the morning he pulled it from his pocket. He held it in his hand as if inspecting a fine jewel.
“What is that?” Mrs. Crowley, his secretary, said as she stepped into Ted‘s office.
Ted jeered from a trance. “A box from and old friend; a gift that has been returned.”
“I hope you have the receipt,” Mrs. Crowley said.
“No I don’t,” Ted said morosely.
“If you used a credit card at least there will be a record,” Mrs. Crowley said. “You did pay by credit card didn’t you?”
Ted smiled. “No, Mrs. Crowley, it was cash.”
“I can see why you’re so down in the dumps,” Mrs. Crowley said. “It looks like a ring box. Looks like you got turned down.”
“That’s nice of you to mention,” Ted said. “But I’m certain it’s not that.”
“I’m sorry that wasn’t very gentle,” Mrs. Crowley said. “You deal with disgruntled teachers, students, and parents all day long it tends to make you less sensitive to real humans.”
“Mrs. Crowley,” Ted chuckled. “You have a gift, just not sure what it is.”
“I’m gonna be straight forward, Ted,” Mrs. Crowley said. “If there was ever a man that needed a woman it’s you.”
“Tell my heart that,” Ted said. “Between you and my mom…”
“Just looking out for you,” Mrs. Crowley said. “And put that box away. It makes me nervous. What every it is.”
“Likewise, Mrs. Crowley,” Ted said.
It took forever for the school to empty. The only one remaining was Jake, the janitor.
Ted headed for the back door and poked his head inside the science lab. Jake was sweeping the floor and his back was to Ted. “Hey, Jake,” Ted said.
Jake turned around. “Yes Mr. Barlow,” Jake said.
“I’m leaving,” Ted said. “I’ll lock up after me.”
“Have a good day, Mr. Barlow,” Jake said.
“Thanks and a you too,” Ted said. “Don’t have to bother with my office tonight.”
Jake gestured and continued sweeping.
Ted sat in his car in the parking lot and dug into his sport jacket side pocket. He pulled out the box. He examined it again holding it on his finger tips. He tucked it back
in his pocket and headed for the park.
Ted got out of the car an walked to the shelter house. He sat on a bench and looked around. His eyes scanned the pond. Suddenly he felt at peace. He breathed a contended breath and pulled the box from his pocket. He pressed his lips tightly and smiled. He unwrapped the box from the brown paper. He opened it.
“It is the ring,” Ted muttered.
He placed the box beside him and held the ring up. He looked through it like it was a rifle site. He moved it to the spot where he first saw Lisa. He pressed his memory so hard that he could see the sweet demur 14 year old girl of twenty years ago. “Oh, how I wished she never had moved away.”
Ted lifted the box and was about the return the ring. A small piece of paper was folded in the bottom of the ring’s box. He removed it and opened it up.
It was so long ago when you gave this to me. I have always kept it near and dear to my heart. I am about to make a decision and before I do this had to be returned. I need your help in making that decision. Please turn around.
“Strange,” Ted thought. “What decision could it be? ‘Turn around,’ what could that mean?”
So Ted stood and turned around.