He reached into his jacket pocket as he tugged her wheeled suitcasebehind him, feeling the small velvet box that had nestled there for thelast two weeks.The ring.He had seen it in an antiques store in downtown Durban, and knewit was perfect. A small diamond, surrounded by blue sapphires. The set-ting was Victorian, the gold a pale white with small flaws that spoke of character and history. It had cost him a small fortune, but the easy parthad been paying for it. The hard part was finding the right time to giveit to her.What if she said no? What if she thought he was too damaged, toomoody, too tied up in his work?He could change. He
change.“So, a week then?” he said, forcing a lighter tone into his voice. “Andwhen you get back we can test
new rigging?” He knew she wantedto go sailing. She had been impatient when Bobby Baumann had takenlonger than expected to re-rig her beautiful fifty-five foot Mikado schoon-er, and had often complained that they could have been out there, on theocean, just the two of them. He had become worried when, in the last twoweeks, Kathy had mentioned having made a mistake, that she shouldnever have used her inheritance to buy the yacht, that she should havesaved the money instead. “Put it away for the future,” she had said.“I can’t go sailing, David,” was her reply now. “I’ll have audit reportsto write up when I get back from Cape Town, and an analysis to submit.”“After that then,” he smiled.“Fine,” she said. “After.”But it wasn’t fine. He could feel it when she kissed him at Depar-tures, the way she avoided his eyes and pulled away from his embracewhen he tried to hold her.
Am I losing you?
He watched her walk through the security gates, hisheart dropping when she didn’t turn around to wave goodbye.He thought about her leaving him as he drove home, as he fed thecat, as he made a tasteless meal for his supper. Stowaway sensed hismood and came to sit on his lap after he had finished eating. He strokedher absently as he sat staring at the TV, the black-and-white cat purringand watching him as he dug the small box out of his pocket and gazedat the ring.6