This is a flash fiction piece, written for today’s 500 Club over at The Parking Lot Confessional. Even though I wrote the prompts, I found this one difficult to complete. Perhaps because I’m so wrapped up in my WiP right now that I have a hard time thinking about anything else. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it.
At the St. Regis
When no one was looking, I slipped the spoon into my bag.
We’d been there most of the night, the six of us, sipping wine at the St. Regis. They’d seated us at the long table toward the back, on that platform that overlooks the baby grand. Henry must have told them it was a special night when he’d made the reservations. Even flower arrangements on the table.
This time next year, I’d be…well, I didn’t want to ruin the night thinking of that. So I took my seat, between Sandra and Billy. Of the six of us, they laugh the loudest.
All my life I’d dreamed of dinner at the St. Regis. The east wall is all glass and rises like a cathedral. Those driving down Adams can see the enormous chandelier shining through the windows. It must weigh a ton. All my life, I’d seen that chandelier and wished to be inside, staring up at it.
Inside, I stared at it for a long time. Long enough for the others to notice, to laugh at me and tell me to close my mouth from gaping. That tonight I was a lady. I laughed and fiddled with the dress straps at my shoulders.
Billy leaned over and whispered, “Don’t listen to them. You look like an angel.”
The Regis is one of those restaurants without menus. A waiter in a tuxedo tells you what is on order for the evening, using his hands to punctuate the ingredients. I’d never tried paté, much less enjoyed champagne sorbet to clear my palette. The tart cold sent chills down my arms.
At some point during the meal, after the second wine bottle was empty, Daniel proposed a toast in my honor. When he said our group wouldn’t be the same without me, wouldn’t be as well off without me, the other four nodded and raised their glasses. Jessica said they’d see me on the other side and Billy replied, “Hear, hear.” Then more wine and some tears. I held mine back somehow. It was about that time the waiter set the spoon above my dinner plate.
Slender and polished to a piercing sheen. I picked it up and turned it over and over, feeling the smooth lines and perfect balance. It captured the entirety of the chandelier’s diamond lights in its roundness.
I set it back down and rejoined the conversation.
Yes, I remembered the time we knocked off the Dollar Pawn. No, it wasn’t reselling the brooch that pinned me, it was the old lady down the street who watched the neighborhood all day and all night. Yes, yes, I’d really given up that life. Learned my lesson. Was ready to pay for my crimes. Of course I had everything ready. Billy would take me downtown tomorrow for the surrendering.
Tomorrow, I thought, before I go in, I’ll give him the spoon. Ask him to keep it for me. I could still trust Billy.
After I’d finished the tuxedo cake and had licked the last bits of chocolate ganache from the spoon, I rested it in my lap and shined it with my napkin, double checking I wasn’t shining it in my skirt. Even under the edge of the table it gleamed. When the waiter returned and no one was looking, I slipped the spoon into my bag.
The bag I’d plucked from the formalwear department.
The bag stitched with crystal beads that sparkled like the night.
Copyright © 2010 by Amy K. Nichols