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Aug 2016
She must be beautiful;
She must be funny;
She must be perfect.
She knows she isn’t. And this terrifies her.

He knows he is none of these things either.
Neither is he happy, nor motivated, nor selfless.
Mostly he is lazy. He hates himself without really noticing.
If he didn’t feel this way he might not be scared enough to do anything-at-all.

She finds it hard to be assertive without sounding like a *****,
She feels stifled when he gets too close. How will she ever make a marriage last?
She has failed for never liking children.

They both skirt the issues. “She is blunt and he is forgetful”.
They laugh and accept this.
They laugh a lot together,
Carefully and with shame they hide the things that make them horrid.

Time passes


And one day, as the light filters down to hang in the mists of a darkening month, infusing their street with a hushed sort of patience, she appears in the sitting room.

In quiet confidence, this beautiful, funny, thoughtful girl reveals to him a portion of the true, uglier weaknesses she has masked. Does he run away? Of course not. He embraces them as she is all the more beautiful for revealing these truths that are so rare and so well hidden.

Whereas before he beheld a doll at arm’s length. Perfect in form but somehow not real; porcelain even. Now the shell has cracked to reveal beautiful breathing blemished sensitive skin beneath which he scoops up and holds in his arms.

He felt as a man who had never seen a real woman, only pictures, and here was one now, open and shy and willing and as exhilarated by him as he is by her.


He sees she is happy.
It is only natural to him that she be worthy of love.
She is silly for doubting it.
He wishes to fall in her lap and to lay out his own faults as best he understands them.
For one desperate moment.
He must be a little better first; a little less worthy of disgust. One day
Not yet, not yet.

They reveal themselves in bitterness later. When she is unprepared and he is suffocating under guilt.
They deny any problem until they are screaming.
They make up and soldier on.


Perhaps his faults will break them apart.
Perhaps hers will, in spite of his initial embrace.

This will not be because they are disgusting, or truly horrid.
Without exception their issues are troublesome, yet entirely normal and worthy of understanding.

We can hope that at the close they are kind to themselves.
We can hope they will not feel despair at everything ending.
We can hope they are wise enough not to see it as everything ending.

We can hope they do not hate themselves for succeeding in doing something that is, in reality, incredibly difficult and praiseworthy –
Making a deeply intimate relationship last any time at all.
N Paul
Written by
N Paul  UK
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