Whatever Mona’s reasons were for telling me about John – I still was grateful. It made moving on with my life so much easier after I found that out. I know I would have agonized over the breakup otherwise. I did get one more call about him around the same time. This one came from the jeweler who was making a special wedding band to go with the unusual setting of the diamond. The band had been John’s project, but he had not called to cancel it after he left. Fortunately for me the jeweler was a kind man and apologized for my situation and told me to forget about the band. I could have been stuck paying for something that would have been useless.
I turned my face forward with a sigh of relief and the feeling that I had just missed stepping off a cliff in the dark. Fortunately ‘N’ had quit going to the country bar now that she was married, as I had no wish to run into John again. Instead I spent most of my evenings working on writing my book The Wailings and sharing life again with my nephew when he was home. I spent most of my weekends with Cid who was always eager to go somewhere new or he took me with him when he went to visit his mother.
At work we had decided to incorporate a ‘point of sale’ system into the store to help with inventory and keeping track of customers. This involved buying a whole new computer and weeks of training. On the salesman’s recommendations, my mother agreed to internet service in the store once more. It sang to me – like a siren’s call – but I managed to ignore it for sometime and kept everything strictly business.
One night after the store was closed, I ventured once more into what was once my favorite chat room in Bianca’s Smut Shack. My hands trembled violently as I waited for the site to load and I found myself in the bathroom feeling sick to my stomach. With my head between my knees, I could see every single word of that good-bye letter to Dragosani as if I were holding it in my hands. After splashing cold water on my face, I stood for a while and looked into the mirror and asked myself if I wanted to do this. I had no right to expect anything but the worst and my stomach confirmed that feeling every time I made the effort to leave the bathroom. Taking a deep breath and reminding myself that only I was to blame – I headed back to the computer.
Unable to bring myself to log in, I just lurked. I sat for a long time with my hands over my mouth and watched the conversations taking place. Some of the people I recognized, but there were many new people in the Parlor. I wasn’t surprised – I had been gone for some time. When Dragosani’s name appeared - I stopped breathing. A flash of heat swept over my body and I could feel the remnants of it in my face. I wanted to run to the bathroom again, but I remained glued to the monitor. As if in a dream, I watched as Shadow Dancer responded to his comment and I knew deep down inside me that they were now together.
Shutting down the computer I locked up the store and headed out into the night.