“Why in the world would you want that?” Ernie asked, who was upbeat and jolly for a man in his late seventies.
“I saw one in a magazine and liked it. You know pink and green are my favorite colors. You do remember that, don’t you, Ernie?” Irmaleen batted her eyes flirtatiously. Ernie tried to appear tough, but the frail man couldn’t hide his good-natured demeanor behind his happy wrinkles. The big half-century anniversary was coming up in a week, and Irmaleen loved all things sparkly.
“What about a cubic zirconia? Don’t they look the same?” Ernie said.
“Be quiet, Ernie. I’m sure Diamond Mike does not have fake jewelry in his store.”
“Fake?” Ernie exclaimed. “I’m talking about real cubic zirconia.” Diamond Mike Watson always loved the interactions between couples in love, but it was a joy to watch two elderly lovebirds playing together like children.
Irmaleen stared at Ernie, paused, then nodded her head for the final cue to make the decision. Diamond Mike was positive that this communication had taken place hundreds of times during their marriage, and Ernie probably yielded to Irmaleen each time.
“Let’s see what it looks like,” Ernie began. “Diamond Mike, can you throw that bauble around Irmaleen’s neck and please tell her it looks too gaudy?” Ernie joked a lot, and probably kept Irmaleen laughing since the day they were married.
“There ya go, Irmaleen,” Diamond Mike said after he snapped the clasp on the back of the small woman’s neck. Diamond Mike turned the showcase counter mirror to face Irmaleen. “What will your friends think about the new Irmaleen?”
“Oh, Diamond Mike,” Irmaleen began. “We don’t have that many friends coming around anymore at our age. I just want something to enjoy so I can remember Ernie every time I look in the mirror.”
“Oh brother,” Ernie exclaimed. “Now she’s pulling at the heart strings, Diamond Mike.”
“Can I have it?” Irmaleen nearly tripped onto the floor as she quickly turned from the counter mirror to face Ernie.
“Be careful, Irmaleen! The doctor said you are not allowed to get too excited about things.”
The couples’ faces turned more serious as Ernie put his arm on Irmaleen’s shoulder while she held her chest.
“Is she okay?” Diamond Mike asked.
“She has a problem with her heart, Mike,” Ernie said with concern. Irmaleen froze briefly in her upright state, wondering if this would be her final moment.
“Whew, I’m better now,” Irmaleen said as the pink returned to her cheeks.
“Are you sure you want it?” Ernie asked Irmaleen for confirmation.
“Yes.” Irmaleen said confidently while fondling the gleaming diamond below the pink-green gemstone.
“Okay, Irmaleen, but that means we will have to forget about that trip to the North Pole you always wanted.” Irmaleen was too overwhelmed to laugh, but still managed a chuckle from Ernie’s one-liners.
“Hooray! A tourmaline for Irmaleen!” Ernie and Irmaleen both laughed. “We don’t need a box, Diamond Mike. I’m sure she wants to wear it now. At our age, we just celebrate every day like it is our anniversary. Ernie handed his credit card to an associate at the sales counter. “This was a lot of fun, Diamond Mike, and thank you so much for the fifty percent off senior citizen discount.”
“Oh be quiet, Ernie,” Irmaleen interrupted. “Mike, Ernie was a born comedian. Now you know what I’ve had to live with for the past fifty years.”
“You will receive so much enjoyment from your new necklace, Irmaleen. I do hope you will bring Ernie back to our store again soon,” Diamond Mike said.
“Mike, you have been so wonderful to us,” Irmaleen replied, then turned toward her husband. “Ernie, if anything ever happens to me, you must promise me that you will come back to Mike and set this diamond in a ring for yourself.”
“Oh, Irmaleen, I don’t think…” Ernie’s smile diminished.
“I mean it, Ernie. Mike, I want to say this for you both to hear. I want you to set this diamond in a ring for Ernie when I am done with it.”
“Okay, Irmaleen. I will do that, but I’m sure you will be enjoying this diamond for many, many years to come.”
It wasn’t everyday that Diamond Mike got a hug from his customers, but Irmaleen embraced him with the love of a mother. “Thank you, Diamond Mike, for a wonderful experience. And thank you, Ernie, for my anniversary gift.” Irmaleen squeezed her husband and kissed his cheek.
Four months later, Ernie returned to the jewelry boutique. “Hello, Diamond Mike,” he said with sadness in his eyes as he tenderly placed his wife’s necklace onto the counter.
“Hello Ernie. Is it time to give a good cleaning and polishing for Irmaleen’s necklace? Diamond Mike instinctively knew what had happened, but hoped for the best as he tried to conceal the quiver from his throat.
“She didn’t make it, Mike,” Ernie began. “She died about two weeks after we took the necklace home. It took me three months to be able to return here.”
“I’m so sorry, Ernie.”
“That’s alright, Mike. But she received so much pleasure in the short time she wore it. We joked every night about the tourmaline for Irmaleen.”
“I’m happy to hear that, Ernie.”
“Irmaleen made me promise to make a ring for myself with her diamond. I knew this was going to happen. I just didn’t know it would be this soon. Nothing lasts forever, Mike, except for the wonderful memories of those who loved us. So, here I am. You sure made a good impression with Irmaleen. I suppose any other husband would have been a little jealous. But I have to say she really liked you, Mike, just as I do. I never dreamed that a jeweler would have ever been in my wife’s will.”
The diamond business was always the business of love, Diamond Mike Watson thought, and he was always grateful for choosing the profession.
“It’s time for me to move on, Mike. I’m healthy. I’m happy. This diamond will always remind me of the best fifty years of my life.”
Diamond Mike carefully removed the diamond from it’s setting. “Let me check your finger size, Ernie.”
Written by Michael C. Watson
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