She sat under the full moon, on the porch of her tiny rented villa. Maybe this would work. Maybe traveling all these miles away from home " and away from him " would finally heal her aching heart.
She heard a rustle, then a small boy tumbled out of the brush. She reached out to help him, but instead of taking her hand, he placed something in her palm and dissolved into giggles.
It was the very ring she'd admired at the market earlier! She remembered the handsome merchant, how he'd watched her among the charms and trinkets. Moonlight glinted off the silver as she raised it to her eyes, and the tiny embedded stones glittered like stars.
A girl stepped out then. "Budi!" Give it to her!" "For you, Miss!," he said, "From Uncle!" The children sprinted off like happy shadows into the night. She pulled the ring over a tanned finger. The pieces were as elegant and natural as a seashell. Of course she couldn't keep it. She'd return the ring in the morning, she decided. But for now.... She fell asleep with her bejeweled hand on its own pillow, and for the first time in weeks, she did not dream of the man - or the pain - she'd left halfway around the world.
In the morning, she walked to the market. The merchant was setting up shop. "I knew it!" he said, "The ring looks beautiful on you." She'd planned to return the ring she'd been given. "Why?," he said as he took her hand. "Something was weighing on you when you came here yesterday. But you are lighter today. It is the magic of silver and stones. And I am happy to share that magic... with you."