Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Pearl Necklace


It had happened again! Claire made a stunning entrance this morning. She came to the office wearing a beautiful pearl necklace. Last week it was a new mink coat. Today, this elegant piece of jewelry. We did not even have to ask. Her new boyfriend was very, very generous. She never told us much, but we suspected that he was a married man. 

The office gossip thrived on women like Claire. She wasn't very attractive, but had the certain je ne sais quoi that enslaved any man who would approach her. We were jealous. 

During lunch Beth told me that she had a plan. She would be wearing a necklace just like that by the next week. Not that her husband, who never remembered birthdays or anniversaries, would get such an idea all by himself, but she had a plan. 

After office Beth did not grab the usual Chinese take-out on her way home. She decided to cook the dinner herself. Something she never did on weekdays. When her husband came home, he was more than surprised. What was the occasion? Did he forget another anniversary? Beth was smiling mysteriously, but did not look upset when he did not produce any flowers. So, maybe this was the new way to put some spice into their relationship. The therapy wasn't really working. He still loved her, but his job was too demanding and she did not give him enough support. The tears, the jealousy, the complaints... Maybe the trip to Hawaii would change everything. Second honeymoon, Dr. Zimmerman told them.

The dinner was fabulous. She did not even cook like that on Sundays, but it had to be extraordinary. She was on a special mission. Her husband looked surprised and a bit tense, but did not question her. The evening was very pleasant and they even went to the movies. Like in the old days. 

Three days later Beth came to the office with swollen eyes. She looked awful. She probably was crying for the whole night. We did not dare to ask. Maybe later she would tell us what happened. She was working quietly at her desk and did not talk to anyone. I could not bear it. I got us two lattes and suggested we take a short break. She was grateful, but broke down as soon as I handed her the coffee. Between sobs she told me what happened. 

She had the wonderful idea of telling her husband that she wanted to have a pearl necklace, just like Claire's. She was a cunning woman and decided that asking him for it would sound like an extortion. Especially now when their relationship was falling apart. She wanted him to take the initiative. The morning after their beautiful dinner together she woke up and told her husband that she had a very strange and mysterious dream. She dreamed that they were in some kind of beautiful place and that he gave a beautiful pearl necklace. She was very surprised and wanted to know what was the meaning of this dream. Her husband was just as puzzled, but did not say anything. 

Last night he came home and gave her a small beautifully wrapped gift. She could not believe her eyes. This was the first time in years that he thought of her. Well, not quite. She coerced him to buying her this gift, but this wasn't important right now. She already saw the faces of her colleagues admiring her pearl necklace. What was she supposed to wear? The beige tween-set or a dress. But which one? 

She took the box and kissed her husband. She felt loved again. Another beautiful evening. Maybe things would work between them after all. Jack felt good about himself. It took so little to make a woman happy. He went to the kitchen to get the drinks. She couldn't wait to open the gift and tore the wrapping apart. At first there was a silence and then, a loud scream. She just could not believe her eyes. "The Interpretation of Dreams" by Sigmund Freud! First edition...

By Dominique Allmon

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