If he had stayed, he’d have cried. He could feel the tears welling, his breath short, and watched her watch him carefully. He knew if he dared exhale he would surrender every word he had ever said, would ever say, all in one moment. And he caught it just in time. And he pulled himself to his feet, and let go of her hand, and left her in bed, wondering. And he turned the corner after the door and stopped, staring at his feet. At his stupid black leather shoes. And his shoulders shifted with the pressing weight that only goodbye carries. The elevator chimed to announce its arrival. The door closed behind him. His sides stretched, pushed out by his insides clawing for air. His heart beating in irregular steps to compensate for his shriveled lungs, starved of nicotine. His intestines squirming with afterthoughts. His stomach churning. And his hand moved quickly to the thread necklace, with its wooden penchant, and its engraved flower blooming under the sun. He ran his thumb over the grooves in the polished wood, pulling it down so as to press against the back of his neck.
[Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you XX.]