Third level, Cumberland Mall.  A young man with dark eyes paces nervously just outside of Fuchs Jewelers.  A red-haired beauty waits patiently, knowingly, behind glass wiped crystal clear with cancerous window spray several times a day.  The display counter’s got to remain clean.  This is the time when men and women in love often fool themselves into believing their relationship comes without smudges and smears, greasy prints left by someone else.  Make it sparkle in the light, make it shine like the bright, diamond eyes of an unblemished virgin.

She smiles at him.  He grins back and shuffles shyly into the store, hands in pocket.  She imagines her own boyfriend picking out a diamond for her.  Soon—any day now.

The space behind the counter is claustrophobic.

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Andrew Dabar