Prose Header

Always and Forever

by Henry F. Tonn

“Thank you so much for meeting me here at the park, Robert. It’s so important that I see you. I know how badly I’ve treated you over these past few months.”

Well, true enough. But have I ever denied you anything? You treat me like a dog and I keep coming back. All semblance of rational thought appears to have drifted mystically into the ozone.

“I can’t tell you what a difficult time I’ve had with Don. Friends told me. My parents told me. I had plenty of warning. I guess I just didn’t want to know the truth. Of course, I can see how he sucked me in. He was so smooth and polished. Everything was planned right down to the last detail. Dinner at Chez Jean. Dancing at the Blue Note. Champagne. The whole works.

“And he always looked so handsome — women used to drool over him when we walked into a room. Do you know on our second date he brought Mother and me a dozen roses apiece? A dozen roses! Swept Mother completely off her feet. She was ready to marry me off to him on the spot. Thought I’d found the perfect husband. She fell for him more than I did.”

Well, you and your mother have a lot in common: beauty and naiveté.

“Things went great for a while. I was on cloud nine. Couldn’t ever remember being so happy. For about three months we got along great, no problems at all. He was so thoughtful and considerate — the perfect beau.

“Then the changes started. Just little things at first, nothing terribly important. Like he started showing up late for dates without warning me. Or he wouldn’t call for several days at a time. Or — and this is a good example — he’d take me out somewhere and then spend the whole evening shooting the bull with some friend of his and I’d be totally ignored. Boy, that used to burn me up. I wouldn’t have done something like that to him.”

No, you wouldn’t, my darling. Because you’re such an adorable and sensitive creature.

“And things got steadily worse. I guess he started taking me for granted. He stopped showing up in those snappy outfits and instead picked me up looking like a bum: unshaven, shirt hanging out, sometimes high.

“We stopped going out places and instead spent a lot of time at his apartment watching sports on television. Ugh! And — strange thing — whenever we did go out, we usually ended up spending my money because he never had any.”

Well, he doesn’t work, does he? Unless you count selling drugs to the kids at the local middle school.

“But the real problems began when several of my friends saw him with another woman. I didn’t believe it at first, figured it was just a case of mistaken identity. But when I kept getting the same reports over and over again, I began to wonder.

“Apparently they were different women, because the descriptions were always different. Finally I confronted him with it and he denied it — naturally. I accepted his word because I wanted to believe him. He could be so angelic. Honestly, Robert, he was the smoothest liar I ever met.”

Well, he’s not totally worthless. He does that one thing really well.

“So, everything came to a head one night when I actually saw him out with another woman. Absolutely blew my stack. I went home in a teeming fury and just raged for hours, then ended up crying.

“The next night he swore to me it was only a girl from the office he had dropped off along the way. She had worked late, too. He was so convincing I almost believed him — until I found out she didn’t even work at his office. So that was it. I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

Finally! It took you so long, my sweet. But, better late than never. Now you’ll be able to see all that I have to offer you. Everything! You will be my queen. I will shower you with the riches you deserve.

“It’s pretty here, isn’t it? I just love this old bridge and the river flowing down below. It’s a beautiful evening.”

Truly. And I love your auburn hair and your delicate smooth skin and the nape of your neck and your tiny little fingers. And I love the promise I see in the deep pools of your eyes. The promise of a lifetime.

“All the time I spent with Don, he never once told me he loved me. Isn’t that curious? He lied about everything else, but he never lied about that. It’s a strange kind of honor, isn’t it?”

Honor, you say? The man has no honor. He’s a swine. But no matter. You have me now, my angel. All is well. Our future is limitless.

“So, last night Don finally told me he loved me. He said he’ll love me always and forever. That’s exactly what he said: always and forever. Isn’t that touching? And I know he means it because he never said it before. We’re moving to Florida tomorrow morning, where he’s getting a new job. I’m so excited! Thank you so much for being my friend, Robert.”

The river flows swiftly tonight. If I leap over quickly, they’ll never find my body.

Copyright © 2009 by Henry F. Tonn

to Challenge 325...

Home Page