Short Story Contest Entry: “Diamond From the Rough”
March 8, 2018
There was never quite much to say about Daniel before he met Tiffany. Living in Brooklyn, without a close family to love him, besides his brother who never showed him care and never treated him with respect, he didn’t have anyone to show him right from wrong. He soon began to fall into the wrong crowd, only partying and struggling to survive on the streets.
Tiffany, however was the opposite. She was light-hearted and only wished the good for people. When she moved to the Boros about 8 years ago, she was met by one of Daniel’s other friends and himself, attempting to rob her of everything she had. As Daniel kicked her to the ground, he saw something he never saw in someone’s eyes before—innocence. He realized that this wasn’t right, to rob such an innocent woman like that. And as quickly as he came to her, he ran away with his friend, who still had some of her belongings.
As weeks passed, Daniel and Tiffany’s paths crossed only more and more. He eventually gave all her things back and she forgave him, seeing the good within everyone. Soon, they began talking all the time and at any chance they could.
She was melting his rough exterior.
It didn’t take long for them to become a couple. Eventually, Tiffany convinced Daniel to escape and move away from all of his past. They moved down to New Jersey and settled in a small apartment in the suburbs, where the pace was much slower and the people were kinder. Tiffany began teaching at a local school, while Daniel went to community college for law and worked on Sundays as a worship leader in a church across town—as requested by Tiffany, thinking it would help him become a better man.
As Daniel finally began to feel like he was loved and cared for, something went horribly wrong: Tiffany had become pregnant with his child.
Just graduating from school and not having too stable of jobs, both Daniel and Tiffany had no idea what to do. They came to the conclusion that they were going to keep the child.
Nine months later, a little girl with big eyes and a giggle so precious came into Daniel as Tiffany’s life.
Naming their daughter Esme—“E” for short—their lives grew with more excitement than ever. They went to the park every week after Daniel’s Sunday worship. It also grew Daniel’s love for Tiffany, having them bond through a bundle of joy and working together to have Esme grow into a beautiful girl. Ten years ago, he never would have thought he would have a loving long-term girlfriend, living a normal life, and having his own child to cherish. And he was going to show that to Tiffany, soon enough.
Approximately two years after the birth of E, Daniel made a reservation for a fancy, high rated restaurant in Newark. Him and Tiffany never had much alone time since Esme came into their lives, so this was a nice change for the couple.
After they ordered their desserts, Tiffany began to notice how nervous Daniel was. She hadn’t seen him like this in a very long time. However, as she was going to ask him if he was okay, Daniel got up and shouted her name, a little louder than anticipated, grasping the attention of everyone in the room. His voice was tense and cracked.
“What is it, Daniel?” She asked, worried. Tiffany had no idea what was running through her beloved boyfriend’s head, but a part of her didn’t quite want to know. He grasped Tiffany’s hands, motioning her to stand. “Babe, you’re scaring me,” she quietly whispered.
He gazed at her, looking at her up and down, taking a breath, and say what he’s been practicing in the mirror for the longest time.
“Tiff, since the first day I saw you, there was always something inside you I never saw in anyone else. You had true care for everyone and everything around you. You loved everyone no matter who they were, including a horrible man like me.”
He began to tear up as she placed a hand on his cheek. “I never had a good life as a child. My parents never quite got along and my brother showed no love. You changed all that.”
“You never ceased to smile and understand me,” he interrupted. “You took the time to get to know me, and not the man on the outside. You’re the reason I’m happy and successful and loved.”
She smiled, beginning to well up herself. “Whenever I saw you, it always made me happy. You gave me that happiness and energy that I have today.”
As he stood up, Daniel brought Tiffany along with him, clasping her hands together, his voice easing up. “We have spent so many years in love, moving away together and starting our own little family with our pride and joy.” Daniel continued as he got down on one knee.”And that’s what I want to make you feel forever.” Tiffany put her hands over her mouth in shock and cheer.
“So how’s about we make it official?” He beamed, taking out a small, black, velvet box with a ring with a diamond on the middle, sapphires making a circle around it.
She didn’t have many words to give; just wrapped her arms around him and held him there for a while as she took in the moment and started to cry.
Somehow, she uttered the word, “Yes!” and he put the ring on her. And even though the whole restaurant was cheering, Daniel and Tiffany felt like the only two people on Earth.