What she can’t feel is the ring lying heavily in his closest-to-his-heart breast pocket;
can’t know the hours he spent choosing between the all-diamond or ruby-on-diamond rings;
can’t hear his nervous laughter as he quizzed the shopkeeper: which would you like if you
hated formality, but wished for commitment; can’t imagine how he calculated his last Visa
bill and planned out his payments; can’t measure his joy that rushes and threatens to
explode. All she knows are the kids running all over the park who squeal with self-absorption, and
the sky that is promising rain even though she dismissed the need for an umbrella. She senses only
his forever jittery hands, those anxious birds, packed again into his back pockets, while his
eyes dart as though they’re afraid to rest anywhere. She’s tired at last, and just
wants to go.
Phyllis Carol Agins
Bio: Phyllis Carol Agins’ fiction includes two novels: Suisan and Never the Same River Twice,
as well as numerous short stories, published in Kalliope, Paragraph, and Lilith Magazine
(Fall ‘06), among other journals. Her children’s book, Sophie’s Name, has been
in print since 1990, and she also co-authored One God, Sixteen Houses, an architectural study.
For many years, she served on the board of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and taught writing at
Penn State Abington. Lately, she divides her time between Fairmont Park and the Mediterranean coast. She has
completed a comic novel about young widowhood and is polishing a literary mystery centering on the Shakespeare
authorship question. Her next book will follow a Jewish family as they leave Algeria to make a new life in
France and America.