Her heart was beating fast as she swiped the card. It was a considerable amount. The dark-blue velvet box was being wrapped in carefully with silver gift paper. The movement of her fingers was flexible and gentle. The woman in the jewellery shop knew how to treat items of this kind.
Inside the velvet bos lay the classic Montblanc ballpoint pen. A birthday present. His first present from her. She was overwhelmed by the thoughts. Still two months to go. Would she manage to not reveal the excitement and tenderness flowing within her?
It was a nice two months packed with a deep thought that could not be shared. No she never intended to share it, it was hers. Her possession. Her faint smile and sudden quietness might give you a clue. She was in 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, however, was warm and cosy. She loved the contrast. She always did. It might be the only thing she loved about the winter months.
This extraordinary contrast of cold and darkness she felt in the streets and the warmth and cosiness she found in the cafes.
Her right hand lifted the cup, the soft light was glowing on her face. She breathed in the fresh fragrance. With her heart pounding, she seeped the coffee slowly. Her left hand rested on her lap. Within it was the box covered with the silver gift paper.
“Yours.” she said while pushing the box slowly towards him.
He lifted his head and looked at her. She sensed the surprise in his eyes. She sensed the faint smile and traces of tenderness. She sensed all this just in time 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. He gazed at it for a second and 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 “Endymion”, a poem by the English Romantic poet John Keats.
Years past. Has it remained a joy to him, or has it turned to a sigh? She wonders. A subtle remark of the passing of time, just that. A faint smile appears on her face. It is a scene that belongs to the past, just that.
Pictures taken in Xia Meng (China), Fredrikstad (Norway) and Stockholm (Sweden) 2017-2018.