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From the Chiming of Bells

Two women sit on couches facing each other in a small, crowded coffee shop. People are milling about, enjoying the warmth the café provides on this rainy day. The baristas chat easily as machines whir excitedly behind them, preparing for the morning rush. One of the idle women sips a coffee; the other twists the ring on her finger and watches the clock, waiting.
“Why did you call me here?” the first asks of her friend as she drinks from her cup.
“What do you mean?” The innocent reply lingered between them as they continued to sip and to twist and to watch.
“I mean, why are we here?”
“We come here every day.”
“You’ve done it, haven’t you?”
The woman stands, twisting her ring absent-mindedly. She wanders to the opposite wall and gazes at the framed photos nailed there.
“So many memories,” she says, emotionless.
“You’ve done it haven’t you?” her friend asks again.
“I don’t think I should.”
“You should if you aren’t happy.” The woman stirs her coffee, upsetting the previously still darkness. Ripples echo within the cup.
“You don’t understand…”
“Help me understand.”
“I’m too tired. This is all too much.”
The woman sits, twisting her ring wearily, watching it spin with half-closed eyes. The friend drinks from her cup once more, unconcerned.
“It has been long enough,” she says pointedly.
“I have to go.” The ring slides up and down her finger as she checks the clock’s face for the time, shuddering at the abruptness of her decision.
“Why? It’s Saturday.” The clock ticks and sings upon the new hour.
“I’m late. I have to go.”
“You can’t leave! We have to discuss-
“I have said enough and I’ve certainly listened enough. I have thought enough. Now my mind is made up.”
As she stood to leave, a metallic sound reverberated as it fell from her hand, clattered against her fingernails, and clinked noisily to the floor. No one noticed the painful sound apart from the two women. They looked at each other for a moment before the second turned and closed the door behind her with the tinkling of bells.




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