Either she was magnificent and the world makes sense in a deeply unfair but ordinary sort of way, or her looks, which strike everyone who sees her as a force of nature, are the reasonable norm and the rest of the world falls short. She was unequal in every way, a triumph of surface exceptionality. When fortune smiled and I caught her eye, I nullified democracy in my heart. I thought: I can move through ordinary rooms and play by the rules or I can step outside. It would have been possible to love a lesser girl, but I would have needed reasons. When happenstance brought her near me, I could briefly exist, even momentarily appear visible to her, working my laughable charm which at the time was to understand her, but not for long, and as I faded to nonentity, I wondered, could there be value to this sort of longing? When I convinced her to make love (by asking!), by challenging her to turn me down, it won’t surprise you to hear the sex was lousy. What man would tell her? We talked all night and disagreed about everything and I tried a new way to attain palpability. We debated. I considered her positions; adopted them as premises, as if she weren’t a premise in herself. It meant ignoring her eminence, which took effort, but I hadn’t given up the idea of living in her presence. By dawn the sun looked silly. We stood together naked at the window and thought about breakfast. When she brought me eggs and didn’t make me dress, when she didn’t make me ask about the toast, when she took the rest of the whole young day for granted, I knew what a terrible hurry she’d been in to be in love.

Copyright © April 10, 2007 David Hodges

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