Authoresses' Note: It was a little bit difficult for me to find a genre to place this in. It's just a short what-if thing with a crappy metaphor that I nevertheless adore. If you enjoy this, please tell me, because otherwise, I'm not going to know. I don't appreciate negative comments, but constructive criticism is absolutely necessary to improving as a writer. The difference should be self-evident.


The Pawnshop


Oliver gave it to the pawnshop, even though I asked him not to. I admit that I didn't beg or plead – if I were in a play, my role would be apathy – but it's not like it would have made an ounce of difference anyway, if I had; his inability to yield on almost any given subject had somehow, back in the beginning, managed to endear him to me. So it went, against my wishes, into the clutches of some grubby salesman. His greasy hands tainted it with oily caresses, at least until a fair-haired girl observed how awfully pretty it could shine in the right light and opted to take it home with her.

The sign outside read: 'Stokely's Stuff, Including, Though Not Exclusively, Stifled Emotions, Unsaid Affections, and Long-Standing Grudges'. It was faded and just generally difficult to read (I believe that's why a lot of people don't know it exists), and because of that time spent in the cold I ended up making my offer in-between giant gulps of air and asthma-laden breathing.

I declared that I would buy it back. The man looked up at me, temporarily moved from his crossword puzzle.

"Listen," He said, pointing directly to a shelved section of items behind me, "These things, they are not given so that the previous owner, or owners for that matter, can just take them back at any old time. The logic does not fit, you see. Why on earth, then, would they have been given up in the first place? No, this is not a clock or a rug, and the universe has told me twice that it won't have any ill – meaning, petty – treatment of its precious property. To be honest, I would keep it even if it wasn't already sold, and tell you kindly to take your complaints elsewhere."

And that's when he told me all about the girl, who had flashing dimples, and enough freckles to recreate Orion's Belt if you connected the dots. She would probably, he said, place it near a lamp, since it needed a rather exact portion of light to look even halfway presentable.

"That's ridiculous." I could feel heat steaming up my cheeks – Oliver, I realized, did not need to be a devil in order to make a deal with one. "How can you sell a thing like love?" When he only looked vaguely at me, as if I hadn't seen the sign, I sighed and quickly moved on. "What was the price? I'll give her more than it went for."

He would not tell me the price, and instead delivered a glare that was none too subtle. "What's wrong with you? You could never afford what she paid. I don't care what torturous sacrifices you believe you are willing to make. At my old age, lady, I've seen them all: brothers ready to slit my throat for something they themselves relinquished long ago (as if I'm the one that stole it from them), friends regretting pretty much everything, children missing mothers and mothers missing children. You think your sob story requires more lenience than any of theirs? Sometimes it makes me cry, or at least think about it, when it comes to some of the more tragic stories, but then I realize that I'm not responsible – I just work here, and it's always the ones involved that actually did the job. I could," He said, "offer you a Blooming Crush."

But I didn't want a Blooming Crush, or a Ripening Infatuation, or any of the new life chapter articles so tackily advertised in posters that inexplicably involved rainbows and roses. I wanted Oliver, stubborn Oliver, and I wanted him to clumsily tie up flowers in my hair, and watch exciting movies about exciting people with me, and not really care about how popcorn was dribbling down my chest in a boring way.

"Please. At least tell me what that girl got it for."

The salesman looked at me pityingly, and suddenly I felt like the dirty one, even though mayonnaise certainly wasn't visible on my collar. He was apparently beginning to realize that, in order to complete his beloved crossword puzzle, he was going to have to get rid of me. "Just a promise," He said, ducking his head.

"A promise?"

He nodded. "To keep it forever."