Of course Nate woke up very early Monday morning to be sure that he had everything he needed for his meeting with Mr. Hobonukium during a long lunch. He had the two Heart Monitors and he had the 400 dollars he had withdrawn from the bank. He confidently left his home and went to his job where he again asked if he could take a long lunch. He went over the approaching meeting in his mind, trying to be sure that he would remember the adjustment the inventor was making to shrink the foreground images. When lunchtime arrived he took everything he needed, drove his car to the subway station and parked nearby. He went down the stairs and boarded a train headed downtown where Mr. Hobonukium and his “Electronic Departures” store waited. Again the ambience of the city filled his senses as he walked towards the smaller street that went underneath the train bridge. The buses, the people, the stores all fascinated him while he quickly approached the last corner. Turning the corner he saw the bridge and hastened his steps. The city’s tall buildings never let much sunlight through to the street and today was cloudy to begin with, but Nate was puzzled when he did not see the sign for the little store hanging above where the front door would be.
He continued his quick steps but then slowed - not because of anything that he saw, but because of what he did not see. Nate had not seen the hanging sign from farther back because it was gone. He continued walking slowly until he stood in front of the store, or in front of where the store had been a week ago. The same basic front door was there and there was still a window on either side, but the windows were covered with plywood and the door had three or four planks nailed across it. There was a cardboard sign stapled to one of the door planks. The sign read: STORE CLOSED - GONE BACK HOME - FAMILY WIN LOTTERY THERE!
At first Nate felt happy for Mr. Hobonukium and for his family and the village far away. Then he remembered why he had come to the store and felt frustrated. The lottery prize must have been very large because there were no indications that Mr. Hobonukium ever intended to return to the electronics shop. What would Nate do now? It was Valentines Day and he had 400 dollars in his pocket, but no gift and not even an idea for a replacement gift for Philomena. He began to walk in small circles in front of the closed store. Nate felt a little betrayed, but knew he needed to move on. He needed to find a nice gift for Meenan by dinnertime. The circles he walked became a little bigger with each circuit, and he began to notice the nearby stores on the street. Just beyond his walking circle was what looked like a discount clothing store. Then his circle turned and he would walk by the front of the closed electronics store, then continue to begin walking towards the subway station until he again turned and walked back towards the discount clothing store. After a dozen circles, that continued to become larger each time he walked around, Nate noticed the jewelry store that he had walked past on his way to Mr. Hobonukium’s shop. It was three stores up from where “Electronic Departures” had been. The biggest circle that Nate had walked brought him directly in front of the jewelry store and he stopped. There was a large sign in the window. It had red letters for Valentines Day and read: Today only! 500 dollars down gets any piece.
Nate began to feel that a nice piece of jewelry might be a good Valentines gift for Philomena, but was saddened to remember that he had only withdrawn 400 dollars from the bank - then he remembered the 100 dollar deposit that Mr. Hobonukium had returned. Nate looked in his wallet and found, there in the back, the neatly folded 100 dollar bill. Nate opened the door to the jewelry store and walked in.
The man behind the counter said hello and Nate began to browse. There were many beautiful necklaces and bracelets but Nate stopped at the display for rings. He reviewed the previous exciting week that he and Meena had experienced while seeing into each other’s hearts. It seemed incredible, but Ntae had learned something very important. He had seen with his own eyes how Philomena filled his heart, and how he was filling her heart. He looked at the diamond engagement rings and realized that he did not know Meena’s ring size - but he could make an educated guess. Nate left the jewelry store 500 poorer, but with a beautiful ring in a small, fancy box in his pocket.
That night during dinner Philomena was frustrated to learn that the electronics store had closed, but she quickly forgot all about it when Nate took the fancy box from his pocket, opened it and asked Philomena to marry him. Meena said, “Yes, Nate”.
Nate placed the ring on Philomena’s finger. The fit was close, but big enough to allow the ring to slip off too easily. They agreed that the ring should be resized at the jewelry store. During the week they had lunch together before driving to the subway station. They parked nearby and went down the steps to the platform to wait for the subway that would take them to the jewelry store because Meena said that she wanted the ring to stay on her finger for a very long time.