The exception was me. My gift, which Mike never asked me to return, was, to all appearances, a small envelope of the size to hold a key, with the imprinted legend, "Thank you - It has been a pleasure serving you;" then, in Mike's scrawl, "For Jenna. Two diamonds." I smiled uncertainly when the gift arrived in the mail, thinking it was an obscure joke. But with this envelope was another one from Carolyn marked, "Please read first."
Carolyn explained that the two diamonds enclosed, which, having no idea of their worth, she'd insured for $1000, were from Mike's father's wedding ring.
It was a while before it occurred to me to look at the diamonds but I knew what they meant: Not real love; he didn't know me well enough for that. But when he fled the US, he needed to feel he was leaving behind someone to whom he was truly close. I fit that role at that moment. The gift was an expression of what might have been.
Like everything else he'd ever known, I had receded into his past while he set about to remake himself as a hero of the Bolivarian Revolution.
If anyone could pull that off, it would be Mike. But one day, I sensed, his past would catch up with him.
Email from Mike: 9 - 10 - 2006