Rafe had made a mockery of diamonds.
Diamond rings, the symbol of strong, enduring love and the promise of a life together. A stone, really. Nothing more than a rock, vomited from the bowels of a volcano. Perfect clarity, forged from a dusty black lump of coal under heat and pressure. What woman alive couldn’t relate to diamonds? She had read, somewhere, that only a diamond was hard enough to cut glass. Only a woman’s fingernails could cut the flesh of a man’s back in passion. Clara traced a finger, wordlessly, down the claw marks while Rafe slept.
Clara examined her own fingernails in the moonlight. Short, round, filed smooth, beginning to wear from rocking against steel strings to produce a poignant vibrato as she played the Csárdás on her father’s violin. A bracelet of delicate, diamond-studded sunflowers circled her wrist, locked by two hands clasped in friendship. An extravagant gift meant to buy Clara’s silence, after she met her father on the steps of a crumbling Italian villa in Rome, where he had been kissing the wild Violetta while her mother languished like a hothouse flower at home.
Clara glanced at her watch. It was nearly 4:00 AM. She laid the violin to rest in its velvet-lined case and considered breakfast. Absentmindedly, she proofed the yeast, mixed in the flower, salt, and sugar, a bit of milk, butter, and egg, and let the mixer knead it while she stared out the kitchen window. She left it to rise for an hour, while she threw some of her things into her carry-on. Rafe stirred. Clara remembered when the rise and fall of his chest might have stirred things deep within her. Now, her only thought was breakfast.
Before baking the brioche, she tucked her diamond ring into the loaf, figuring it needed a bit more time before it was strong enough to endure the promise of a life together without love. As she closed the oven door and walked out the front, Clara knew that she never would be.
This story brought to you by Creative Copy Challenge #654 | Writing Prompts — Creative Copy Challenge (wordpress.com) and the words Coal, Diamond, Ring, Flower, Flour, Circle, Sunflower, Bracelet, Clasp, and Watch.
Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle ; A Puppy, Not a Guppy; and A New Leaf for Lyle. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young at heart. Visit her website at jahangiri.us, where this story was originally published, and subscribe to her newsletter at https://hollyjahangiri.substack.com/