shadow box

make believe

I don’t wonder what he is to me. Nor what I am to him. It’s glaringly obvious that I am a fantasy object that he believes would make his life complete, and absolutely wouldn’t.

Elusive happiness, and one’s rabid attempt to find it.

Nonetheless, I’m lured by the storyline he’s created for us. Not as a reality but as the bizarre plot it is. It interests me, from a viewer’s standpoint. Watching it play out, watching myself fail at the fictional depiction of what he thinks I could be to him.

“I love you. I love you. I love you,” he whispers, that first night. And it’s obvious how much this gets him off, so I let him, for a while.

But at a certain point that kind of nonsense is just too much.

“Listen. You have to stop that,” I tell him.

“Why can’t you just let a man love you?” he wants to know.

That’s so far from the issue that it defies response.

I don’t begin to know how to get it through his sweet head that the only reason he feels safe in this romantic delusion with me is because I’d never actually go for it.

“I just saw it so clearly,” he tells me later, pacing the room, running a manic hand through his hair. “I’m going to marry you.”

I’m lazy in bed. He’s gone out for three cigarettes in the time it’s taken me to slowly wake up enough to listen to anything he has to say.

I peek out at him from beneath the covers.

Marry me? That’s a laugh. No one is ever going to marry me. And I’ve definitely told him that, in no uncertain terms.

“You don’t believe me, do you?” he asks.

“No,” I say, patting the recess in the bed where he has every opportunity to be, if he could ever just accept what’s honestly in front of him.

“Well, I am,” he tells me, that crazy look on his face. A mixture of terror and delight. “I’m going to marry the shit out of you, Delilah.”

And at that he shocks even himself. His eyes get wider and he covers his mouth with his hand.

“Oh my God, I’m going to marry you.”

The man is not going to marry me. I’m not even a part of the equation that he thinks he’s solving. But there’s something adorable in his rant; I can’t help it. Marry the shit out of me? I mean, come on. That’s just cute.

We couldn’t be more opposite. If he’d ever slow down enough to absorb one single quality of my personality, he’d recognize how little he actually cares for my style. I am quiet, sleepy, demure, withdrawn, while he’s going a thousand miles an hour towards a destination that doesn’t exist.

“Maybe I should step right in his path. Go kamikaze on him,” I suggest to Eden, the next day. She’s the adorable pixie at work that serves as my assistant, the one person with whom I accidentally share everything.

“Yes, yes, marry me! Do it!” I satire, prancing around the office.

“Please! Please! Now! We belong together for all time!” At this I clasp my hands together and shake them, pleading.

Eden laughs, shakes her lion’s mane hair no. “You couldn’t do it,” she tells me. “You couldn’t pull it off.”

I laugh too, but then feel suddenly mean.

“It’s not even about me,” I tell her.

She shrugs.


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