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opal ring

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Nick claps
my hands between his.
I lean over
and laugh with Kate
as the stage lights dim.
He tugs off my ring
and whispers into it
before clapping
again.
It makes a different sound,
he tells me.
I roll my eyes
at the back of his dirty blond head.
Sure, Nick, I tell him,
letting him believe
the secret
he whispered into
my opal
is magic.
I know better.
He leans against me
content to clap
and whisper
and listen
until
the winners are announced.

That night after the party
I stare at my reflection
in the hotel mirror, steam
from the shower obscuring my vision.
Fog melts away.
My hair’s long
and my eyes
are tired
from nine hour rehearsals.
I draw my hand
to my lips
and murmur.
I clap.
The sharp echo
fills the room;
I yank the brush through my hair.





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