"Payments, loans, and returns."
Harley Quinn hurried down the fairly dark street, the street lamp flickered, and months flew around it in a circle and danced the night away in repetition. She had a jet black hooded jacket with a thin silk material on as she clutched it, the wind was getting stronger and black clouds loomed above, hiding the pale moon. Under the coat she had on a pair of tight black jeans and a long sleeved black top bearing the saying, 'Warning: Doesn't play well with others.'
She scurried down the dark street, her blonde hair now shorter than before to make it easier. Finally she saw the small sign, the letters printed in small capitals and black, very neatly, '
A middle aged man, maybe early thirties with dark brown hair slicked back was behind the counter, he had on a white button up shirt and black pants, he had a strange feel about, a well as look, he looked like a bank teller from the forties, but no one was sure why. He smiled at Harley as he leaned on the clean black counter, it glimmered in the medium yellowish light of the shop.
Harley glanced around, it was an ordinary place, they had the counter to pay, you could use the counter to take out a loan or return something and get your pay back. There were a few shelves, a shelf with some gum and candy, a place to buy lottery tickets, a coke machine hummed away in the corner of the store, it was a small place, no bigger than the average suburban kitchen. The man smiled again, he had a very fresh friendly look about him.
Then he said, "It's good to see you miss Quinn, I'm assuming you're here to make a return, I still have your valuable items waiting for you. You know I don't sell them until the last payment, most don't make it that far…" He was still smiling casually.
She pulled the hood of the coat, her nymph like features glowed, the big blue eyes, delicate rose bud mouth, little nose, and lovely skin. She smiled softly not showing her teeth. Then she slowly walked over to the counter, "Actually….I'm here to make my last payment."
His smile faded, he had a sad disappointed look on his handsome face, "I really didn't think you would go this far, you seem so intelligent and…wonderful."
Her smile faded as well, "I am. But love is worth everything in the world."
He pulled the check list out from under the counter then he said, "But what is love without happiness?"
"Love is always love. Anyone who's ever really been in love could understand."
He just shook his head in sadness and took out a small red pen as he read off the list he checked each item she had given him off, "Alright, so far it's been one payment a year, lets start at the top of the list. Independence was the first to go, then self respect, then dignity, then of course you paid with your sanity, next we had your soul, but due to the fact that you gave it to him we never received that payment."
She I know, "That was his long ago, it was something that had always belonged to him."
"Of course there was your body, your self esteem, your mind, and your heart. So that leaves your happiness. The last payment."
She always didn't want to look at him as she laid the little bit of happiness she had on the counter, he took it and placed it in a zip lock bag and under the counter he placed it with the rest of the happiness, marking her name clearly on the bag, as well as the date he received it. Then he said, "You know, it's funny. People who have it better than you, have to pay with happiness so much sooner. But you, you managed to stay happy for seven years…"
"Well mistah J makes me happy, being with him makes me happy."
He marked the happiness of the list then said, "If he makes you happy, then why do you have to trade your happiness to be with him?"
The man was right, Harley said nothing.
"You shouldn't have to pay your happiness for love, they should go together, love should make you happy."
Then Harley said, "Everyone assumes that love is happiness, but it's not. Love is love is always love, happiness and love don't go hand in hand. Love is horrible, and painful…but God, love is soo much better than happiness."
He took a breath and printed out her receipt, "Well here you go, you've paid with your life, and everything inside you to be with him." He handed her the receipt feeling the fragility in her small hand. "You should hang on to that, if you ever decide that you want yourself back, your mind, your hope, your dreams, bring that receipt, trade love and get it all back."
She balled the receipt up saying, "I won't be needing this, I won't be coming back."
"Harley," He looked like he wanted to reach out to her, "Every night, ten people give or take a few, come in here, and they pay the payment of happiness for love. And I warm them that happiness and love go together, if you give up happiness there is no love. They don't listen, they give me their happiness and they leave. They all come back, I get usually half back in a week, then a few others in a month or two…once a women came back after 15 years of marriage, she walked in here, tossed her love on the counter with her receipt, that she had to tape back together, and told me the first thing she wanted was her happiness. Everyone single person who has ever given me their happiness has come back for it."
Harley tossed the tiny receipt into the waste basket saying, "Then I guess this is a record, I'll be the first." She turned to walk out of the store, pulling the hood back on.
"Harley!" He yelled. She turned back and looked at him, then in a soft sad voice he said, "He's not worth it. He's not worth your happiness…nothing and no one is worth that."
She smiled a frail smile with her red lips as she said in her high pitched voice, full accent, "Love is the ability to forgo any chance of ever being happy, to be with the one you love…Those other people, they weren't really in love, that's why they came back."
Then she pushed the door open, hearing the chime of the little bell, and went back onto the dark windy street, clutching the jacket. There was an emptiness inside her, a hurting empty spot where her happiness used to be, and she knew it would never be there again, and she knew their relationship was probably as good as it would get, by all probability she would never get that happiness back. But she knew she didn't need it, she didn't live for her happiness, her happiness didn't make her smile, it didn't make her laugh, she didn't wake up for her happiness and go to sleep thinking about her happiness.
She was more than happy to trade that useless happiness for a lifetime with her Puddin', because she would much rather be miserable with him than happy without him.
Harley sat up in bed, she felt chilled and noticed she had left the window open, she got up and shut it. As she was getting back into bed, with strange memories of the dream she just woke up from, she pushed back her bleached blonde hair, and glanced over at the picture of Joker on the nightstand. There they were together, his arm around her, her cuddled up to him, there was a sadness and misery in her that she couldn't deny, he wasn't in bed with her right then, and it hurt her inside, so badly.
But she knew, consciously perhaps for the first time, that he was worth her happiness…because in an essence, he was her only happiness. And as she laid back down, she realized, she could never really trade her happiness, because her happiness was her misery, and her misery was her happiness.