Harold looked all about him, though he knew he was quite alone in the house. He touched the secret mechanism on the bookcase that caused it to slide to one side and entered the small room revealed. He pulled at the chain around his neck and brought forth the key hanging from it. He kissed it softly and then unlocked the gleaming steel cabinet.
Pausing to heighten his anticipation he let a smile lift the corners of his mouth and then depressed the door handle and opened the cabinet. His eyes lingered on each of the jars within for long moments until the memories flooding over him caused him to shudder.
At last he closed the door an locked it, leaning his head on the cool metal for a moment and then leaving the space and closing it up again. He felt overwhelmed, as he did from time to time in these moments. He sat down in his favourite chair and allowed himself to remember what had set him on the path.
Minutes later he glanced at his watch. It was time to begin. He got out his little black book and looked up the number he had in mind. He sat in silence and allowed him mind to go blank. He picked up the phone and dialled.
He smiled and licked his lips.
“You remember my voice. How are you? I just thought I’d give you a call and see if you’d like to have coffee with me.”
“Yeah, of course I remember. Um, sure, that would be good. When did you have in mind?”
“Are you busy right now?”
“No. You caught me at a good time. Where shall we meet?”
Their first date went well. Harold was witty and charming. Melanie was impressed. A dinner date for the following Saturday was arranged. By the fifth date Harold was certain she was under his spell. It came as no surprise.
In the middle of the third month of their relationship he knew the time was right. He took her to the most elegant restaurant he knew and afterwards suggested they drive up to look out point. He parked the car and they gazed down on the city lights below.
It was a warm late spring night and he lowered the convertible top, opening up a view of a crescent moon hanging just above the horizon with Venus twinkling just above and to the left. He couldn’t have asked for a better set up. He put his arm around her and pulled her close and then leaned over and whispered in her ear.
“I have something I want to tell you. It’s been on my mind for days now.”
She turned and smiled.
“I know. Let me say it first. I love you.”
He kissed her gently and gazed into her eyes. There it was. He could see it so clearly. She was in love. He ran his fingers through her hair and kissed her forehead.
“And I love you Melanie. I’m so happy.”
They sat and talked for a while longer and then drove to her place. They listened to music with the lights down low and had a couple of glasses of wine, then retired to the bedroom. Their lovemaking was accentuated by their declaration of feeling for each other and when they lay in each other’s arms afterward Harold felt the familiar urge. He closed his eyes and pictured what would be. He reached over and turned out the light and whispered to her in the dark.
“It’s time, Melanie.”
Part 2 Tomorrow