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Penelope’s Necklace

Early morning rise, crisp trees and chill bumps on their skin. It wasn’t unusual for middle aged Sal Finman to be lurking on his neighbor Penelope, early in the morning, attempting to pretend he’s only interested in the newspaper. Sal, salesman, boring and content with a neat and well groomed exterior, found satisfaction in the ordinary. Penelope, 20 something woman who found satisfaction from lovers and a night out, with soft skin and dark black hair; yet nothing ordinary about her.

This seemed to be a normal exchange for them both. Sal at dawn fetching his paper, Penelope at dawn returning from a night well spent. On rare occurrence these two had short and somewhat awkward encounters. Not always because of Penelope’s walk of shame, or Sals eagerness to watch Penelope come home, but because they were just neighbors. They were nothing alike; they came from two different worlds with never a real reason to interact with each other.

“H-hi,” Sal uttered out, working up the courage to greet her. He had wondered when it was the right time to speak with her, she had an interesting schedule and routine that hardly coexisted with his own.

“Hello Sal,” She replied with a faint smile. He never cared how she spent her nights; he never wondered who she was with. He was a 34 year old man, but a lonely one who often thought about her and her adventurous lifestyle. He eyed her appearance, well dressed for a night out, hair in kinky curls. She was indeed a sight for sore eyes, but she was sporting something he never noticed before. A rather dangly necklace, it was hard to identify, but from what he could see it was metallic and shiny.

“How are you this morning?” He asked timidly.

“I’m okay, I can’t complain. How are you?” She was very sweet, a woman like her doesn’t have to give a boring man like him the time of day, but she always did when they happened to converse- which wasn’t often.

“I’m good too, just checking for the paper,” He replied nervously.

“You do that every morning huh?” She asked inquisitively. Sal indeed made waiting for the paper his morning routine, but it was never for the paper. Not that she needed to know that.

“Uh yeah… gotta stay informed on current events!” He said silently cringing at how awkward hewas. A low chuckle emitted from her as she walked off into her quaint house. In Sal’s eyes, Penelope was a mysterious figure; everything about her intrigued him. He wished that one day he could follow her inside.

Months had gone by and he hadn’t see much of Penelope; she wasn’t going out as much. Or at least he wasn’t catching her at the right time anymore. The flower bush outside her house was beginning to wilt, and he could feel the dreariness surrounding it. He used to peek outside his window and watch her water them from time to time. In the sun her skin was golden and dewy, whereas his was pale and dry. He knew he should moisturize more often. Although he didn’t see much of her, the sun started to rise so he approached his mailbox and waited for the paper like usual. Instead, there was an envelope poking out of his little green mailbox. Out of curiosity he wasted no time in checking the envelope out; it was a letter. The letter had no return address, just the name SAL written across it. The envelope was torn to shreds. He had no care to salvage what was left, his only interest was what the envelope contained. Upon ripping it open, something slightly heavy fell out. Sal crouched down in order to see, and much to his surprise, it was the same shiny necklace Penelope wore around her neck. He immediately opened the letter and began reading.

Dear Sal,                   

I know this may come as a surprise that I have written you this letter. You’re a good neighbor Sal, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. Tend to my flowers, I am leaving but I will soon come back. I am a lonely girl, my flowers are all I have, as me and my mother planted them together. In hopes you believe me and will do me this favor, I am leaving you the most precious jewelry I own.                                 

-Penelope

Millions of questions roamed around in Sal’s head; they didn’t have much of a friendship, they were hardly acquaintances. Why did she trust him, with her flowers and her necklace? Him of all people. He analyzed the necklace, a small metallic pendant with a fingerprint engraved into it.He moved his finger slowly and gently around the fingerprint feeling the grooves. He had wondered whose fingerprint it might have been, to make it so precious to her. Mostly, he wondered when she was coming back.

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