The Pearl Earring

A flash fiction piece.

Elizabeth walked through the door of her summer home in the Hampton’s. “It’s good to be home,” she breathed to herself, untying the soft purple bonnet she had bought during her stay in Paris. Sighing, she climbed the stairs to her bedroom. She needed time to reflect on her journey to Europe. So much had taken place during the six weeks she had been away. 

Lying on her bed, Elizabeth struggled to suppress the memories of the young man she had met at the Louvre. A man whose name she was trying to forget. She concentrated on the paisley patterned paper on her bedroom wall. If she focused long enough, surely she could forget the man who had almost caused her to forsake her wedding vows.

“Charles will be home soon,” she whispered, “I must forget this man. I love my husband.” She tried to convince herself of this half-truth, rolling over on the bed she shared with Charles. Elizabeth ran her hand under her husband’s pillow, feeling the smoothness of the sheets. 

Her hand found something small—something hard. Flipping the pillow over, Elizabeth stared in silence at the delicate pearl earring that lay on the bed. Picking up the object, she examined it closely. 

“This isn’t mine,” she declared, turning the piece over in her hand. Sitting upright, Elizabeth stared again at the wallpaper. She glanced at the clenched fist that held the delicate earring. “This isn’t mine,” she repeated, louder this time.

A noise downstairs startled Elizabeth. Someone loped up the stairs and into the bedroom. “Charles,” she uttered, as though the name was unfamiliar to her. The man closed in to embrace her, but stopped suddenly. Elizabeth’s hand was outstretched, palm up. The man stood motionless. Elizabeth hurriedly descended the stairs. The front door slammed shut. 

The End

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