Kiss Me Goodbye


                "When you were younger, did you ever wish one of those fairy tales with the princes could be true?"

                The phone line was quiet, a soft buzzing licking her ear gently. She laughed girlishly, for a second young and living it instead of older and remembering. Back when Dante had been another mysterious boy in the corner, another name to be in awe of, maybe she had dreamed. "Does it matter? My prince stopped and asked for directions." The doorbell rang and she said hurriedly, "He's home; I'll have to call you back. Talk to you later."

                "Kali, if you don't—"

                "You'll call me. Miss you." And she let the phone drop into place. Hurrying to open the door, she smiled and prepared herself for a kiss, but on the other side, she didn't see him.

                "Dante said he couldn't make it home until late."

                "And sent you?" Kali studied the man: young, gray eyes, and a mess of short brown hair.

                "Yeah, he's trying to get me fired so he wants me off the work grounds as often as possible. He calls me 'boy,' isn't it fitting? Right now I'm the delivery boy, tomorrow I'll be trash. But here's flowers," he handed her a bouquet of opening roses and daffodils, "Here's a card," he took a small white card from his pocket, "And an apology for the inconvenience. And dinner." He produced a delicately wrapped bag. "I bid you goodnight." The boy turned without another word and left the apartment hallway.

                "Good looking." Disturbed, Kali turned to find Mrs. Conner winking at her. "Not easy to find one like that." The lady was at least in her sixties, hair thin and gray, but her spirit was still biting. Kali continued to gawk at her. "Oh, come, I may be old, but I still have taste." Her eyes begged for a comment.

                "I'm practically engaged!" she cried, "Look, I even have an engagement ring." She  pointed at her left hand anxiously.

                Mrs. Conner stepped from her room, approaching Kali slowly. Trying to fake a smile, Kali calmed her oddly tensing nerves by recalling Mrs. Conner's forgetfulness. "Remember?" she said aloud.

                Taking the young hand in her own, Mrs. Conner looked into Kali's eyes and said solemnly, "Oh, yes, I even remember exactly how expensive this was. I have simply forgot when he asked for your hand in marriage…when this ring was his promise to you…"