Francine Witte: Trust

Sarah had given up on trust. Then she met Harley. He was so oozy with charm, she stopped being careful. He would tell her how pretty she looked in her print dress even though she was wearing a pantsuit. And just as she was about to correct him, he would give her his dazzle smile, and that was that.

Soon, he persuaded her to open a joint bank account. Of course, most of the money was hers. Her dead husband, Wendell, had left her quite well off. As time went by, and Sarah asked where all the money was going, Harley would wink and tell her they could live on love.

One day, the dentist called and told Sarah her check had bounced and would she please give her teeth back. “With all the time I’ve spent on them, they’re really more mine than yours,” the dentist said. She hung up and started to look for Harley, who was nowhere to be found.

Months later, he calls and Sarah answers the phone, toothless. “I’m sorry,” Harley says, and she can almost hear his teeth sparkling in the morning sun. She doesn’t want to forgive, doesn’t want to trust again, but the words come home rise up her throat, past her tongue and fly out into the moneyless air.

And who knows what other words are liable to come out of her mouth with her teeth no longer there to stop them?



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