Don't pull Steinbeck out of your purse
eyeliner or lipstick would be better, and
don't start humming Holst, whenever the TV reporter starts talking about Pluto &
it would be better if you didn't describe our bed
as "one big Klimt painting come to life"

I would like it if you wouldn't study the flight patterns of birds so intently,
and compare them to the lines of a symphony
you used to play on the piano

I would prefer you not be so sharp
I'm on the edge as it is.

You stand there, immaculately dressed, like a fashion-plate from Vogue or Elle. Your hair is genuinely red, as opposed to my copper-from-a-bottle-to-cover-the-mouse. Your slenderness makes me feel elephantine and your grace contrasts with my ... well, clumsiness is a kind way to put it.

Your authentic smile and your warm hug make me feel that you are honestly pleased to meet me, and no lines mar your forehead -- you obviously aren't irritable, the way I am. I smile back, welcoming, but my warmth is feigned. I didn't invite you, and I'm not glad you are here.

Once upon a time, my husband used to love you.

So, you stand here, now, beside me -- fat, grouchy, clumsy, me -- and he can draw his own conclusions about his choice of wife.

I wait for you to speak of something substantial, silently wishing that you will be dumb, that I'll be able to find one tangible thing to set me apart as the 'right one'. Don't be smart too, I think, I couldn't stand it.

Our daughter joins us. She welcomes you, prettily, politely, her best manners on show. His arms go round my waist, and he whispers in my ear, "I love you. Stop worrying."

Suddenly it doesn't matter so much if you are intelligent, as well as everything else. But even so, it's nice when later I find out -- you aren't. You are a lovely, charming, well-dressed flake. I like you.

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