Total Eclipse by Jane Roberts
I blame Boodles. I blame Tiffany & Co. I blame the Financial Times’ How to Spend It Magazine.
My wife would drop the usual hints, peppering our breakfast poached eggs with that dangerous meek-faced-leaden-backboned volatility. The sort that explodes when you least expect it.
“If I could own The Milky Way… I’m sure that would be me set for life. No more diamonds. No more emeralds. A definite saving, darling. 13 billion years old. Now that’s vintage. That’s a genuine antique. No one will have anything like it. It’s practically recycled, isn’t it? So much more ethical than Blood Diamonds. So much better than one of those zirconia things.”
Don’t ask how. You wouldn’t believe it. Don’t ask how much. I still don’t believe it. But when wife wants – whatever wife wants – wife gets.
There she stands in front of the mirror, particles of light dripping from her clavicles. A milky miasma around her and her reflected twin. Like religious icons with diadems shining out. Except around their breasts rather than their heads. We call her chest Silicon Valley – last year’s Christmas present.
“It’s such a good fit. It could have been made for me.” She swishes the radiance through her fingers this way and that to see how the intensity of brilliance alters at different angles.
At parties she lights up the room. People dim the chandeliers just so she can shine brighter. She receives compliments from all. Until. At one event a woman brushes past The Milky Way with a hand displaying the blackest of blackest rocks.
“What, this trinket? It’s just a piece of rock from the centre of the Moon. Nothing too ostentatious,” the woman answers the intrigued crowd who turn their back on the glow emitting from my wife. And I’m left thinking – this was the most expensive light show I’ve ever paid for, and now it’s the most expensive blackout I’ve ever witnessed. Total eclipse.