I met her in San Francisco. Her name was Elisabeth. She was a proper British woman with big glasses that made her blue eyes seem watery and large, as if you were looking at a well-dressed goldfish swimming in its…
Published August 03, 2007 by
It was simple because it was only a pair of dice. She gave them to me the last night we saw each other. She smiled her full wattage smile, the one that powered and lit up most of the city. She held the dice in the palm of one small hand, her long fingers pointing straight out at me.
Go ahead, she said, roll them.
I held out one hand and she dropped the dice into my palm and watched as I dropped them on to the polished top of the bar.
The dice tumbled and rolled, clattered on the surface, bounced off of each other and rolled to a stop, showing a pair of sixes.
Nice, I said, but she shook her hand, and scooped up the dice and held them out to me a second time. She smiled again, this time, brighter than before and I tried to read the playfulness in her eyes but she was being enigmatic, like a sprite dancing in a magic forest, and I held my hand out, and as before, she dropped the dice into my palm. I looked at the dice. They were red with white grooves marking the numbers and I looked back at her but she only smiled and radiated the warmth I’d come to know over the past three months.
Go ahead, she said, roll them again.
I shook them in my closed hand without taking my eyes from hers and she did not look away until I shot the dice on to the bar top and we both watched them bounce and crash and they came to a stop, showing a again, a pair of sixes.
Well, I said, these are lucky, or maybe you’re lucky and it’s rubbed off on me.
She laughed and leaned over the bar, propping her lovely face in one hand, her long, chestnut brown hair, draped like a theater curtain down across her neck and her shoulders disappearing towards the middle of her back.
Do it again, she said, and then, turning suddenly, she darted away like a horse bolting, and I glanced as she went to talk to another customer.
For three months we’d known each other and had known from the beginning I was leaving. We played dice all the time - roll them and wait while the other person guesses the number - guess correctly, you get to ask a question; guess incorrectly, you have to answer a question.
She came back and I smiled and she watched as I rolled the dice and watched as once again they came to a stop, showing a pair of sixes.
Okay, I said, scooping the dice up in my hands, what’s the story?
She laughed, and flung her hair back, leaned over the bar, and came close to me.
Cheater’s dice, she said, loaded with a small weight. They’ll always bring you an answer. So, they’re yours, but only if you promise me something.
The smile went down low, and the whole bar seemed to dim, and I knew she was serious. Sure, I said, what?
Never use them to hurt anyone, and only use them the next time we see each other.
She reached out and cupped my hands in hers and squeezed and said: Promise.
I promised her that and I kept them and waited and knew, they were the most honest birthday gift I’d ever received from anyone.