It doesn’t take much to discover what a girl wants. If she wears different jewelry each time you see her, she probably has a collection. She probably responds to gifts of jewelry. If she doesn’t ever wear jewelry, you’re not about to introduce a new habit.
So much is contained in a piece of jewelry, as precious as every little kiss of his.
The second most populated place on Maui is Kihei where red dust blows from the mountains on a windy day and settles on your floor if you’re not careful. Despite this, many people choose to live in Kihei for the ease and proximity to white sandy beaches and access to shops. The sunsets are glorious, with newly weds competing for photographs against the setting sun. South of Kihei is Wailea, widely known for its immaculate golf courses and five star hotels.
Among the diverse residents in Kihei lives a thirty-something woman who bears a secret. You’d have to read her jewels to understand. Here is another story from my forthcoming novel, untold tales of temptation and torment in the tropics.
In anticipation of their first trip together as secret lovers, he gave her a small diamond wrapped in a ruby heart to represent his undying love and growing passion. Because they had to keep their relationship a secret, he did not want anyone else to take notice. Only she should know the value and meaning of the stones. As he put the golden necklace on her, she sank back into his warm, hairy chest and closed her slanted eyes. Her life was about to change.
For Valentine’s Day, he presented another gift: a matching set of earrings and necklace. She had never seen such an intricate juxtaposition of her favourite colours: light blue and light purple. He explained that the colour lavender meant femininity all grown up. Despite their age difference, he assured her that she was a lady in every way. He chose turquoise, or Turkish stone, so she’d feel protected. Thrilled that he had noticed her collection was absent of such colours and the care in which he selected the stones, she wore the set every day until he surprised her again.
On St Patrick’s Day, he cooked a meal that he had perfected for years: roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. It was not her favourite, as she preferred exotic spicy dishes with many diverse ingredients chopped finely and cooked quickly. Knowing how much he wanted to share his Irish lineage with her, she pretended to enjoy the overcooked meal by drizzling everything with the thick brown gravy.
Just when she thought her stomach would burst, he brought out his “famous” bread and butter pudding. Like a puppy dog, he watched her swallow a spoonful at a time into her delicate mouth. Resisting the temptation to kiss her ruby lips, he patiently waited until she had cleaned her plate. The dessert was too rich in sugar and carbohydrates for her liking, but she feigned enjoyment and slowed down her pace. When she finally finished the last morsel, she excused herself before he could kiss her. She sat on the toilet trying desperately to get rid of the expanding bloat. After fifteen minutes of wilful meditation and prayer, she acquiesced to walking it off.
While he was washing up, she walked swiftly around his wooden balcony a hundred times. Pacing up and down, she agonised over the right way to show appreciation and tell the truth. In her culture, she learned not to say anything that might hurt the other person. She could not bring herself to compliment him on a meal she dreaded having again. Could she run away every St Patrick’s Day? Could she ask for a smaller portion next time? She did not want to lie. She did not want to pretend. Maybe she could give a medical excuse.
Her worries vanished as soon as he told her he had something to give her. She loved presents and surprises.
He sat her down on the rocking chair outside. In the setting sun of Kihei, he brought out a small velvet jewelry box.
“Close your eyes,” he said.
He took her right hand and inserted two rings onto her ring finger. When she opened her eyes, she gasped. It was a diamond ring twinned with a golden band.
“What are you doing?”
“Do you like this set? You know what the diamond means. Do you know what the gold means?”
“It’s a wedding ring.” It was more beautiful than the wedding ring she still wore on her left finger to remember her late husband and to show his friends and relatives that he was very much alive in her life.
“Not yet,” he said. “But, would you marry me?”
She blushed. “I thought you’re supposed to ask me first before putting the ring on!”
He smiled. “I wanted to make sure you would say yes. I know, it should be on your left hand but it’s not time yet.”
She nodded. They’d have to wait another five to six months before they could announce their love. It’s a secret. No one could know. At least not yet.
“It’s beautiful,” she touched the diamond. “I like the gold pattern, too.”
“I will tell you the meaning of this design. I worked with my jeweller on this.”
As he proceeded to tell her, she thought of all the secret kisses they would have until they could do it in the open. Meanwhile, she knew that he would continue choosing gems and designing jewelry to show his love and dedication. She knew he loved doing that.
Six months was a long time. Anything could happen. Even if the relationship didn’t work out, she thought, she would keep the gems. He would be too mean to ask them back. She was sure of that.