She's not real; it's just a photograph--not even that, a digitized image of a photograph, saved as a JPEG file.  Why does she keep looking at me?

I found it on Am I Hot or Not, and I liked it--I'm a sucker for black and white photography--so I saved it.  A few days ago, on a whim, I set it centered as my desktop background.  It shows a young woman wearing what looks to be a white formal gown (although I wouldn't say a wedding dress)--her dark hair is pulled back and piled on the back of her head--intricately, it seems, although the picture is slightly blurred, making it difficult to tell.  Two locks of hair have fallen down and drape over her left eye midway down her cheek.  She stands in front of a full-length mirror and has just turned her head to look.

Her face entrances me.  The darker circle of her lips against the almost uniform white of her face stands out to me, making me long to be there, to feel the breath of them against my skin.  I see them in my imagination, no longer leached of color there, but red as wet blood, stark against her pale skin.  My beard scratches against her cheek as she whispers secrets in my ear.

When I first saw her, she looked to me bored or apathetic, someone forced by circumstances or whatnot to dress herself up--and in her offhanded way, she had done so to utter perfection, unaware that she was beautiful, except as everything that lives is beautiful.  (That is the story that came to me, whether it be true or false.  Perhaps I could tell more of it, but perhaps also things are better implied than said.  Leave her some secrets.)  But as she continued on my screen over a few days, it began to seem to me that she was not bored or apathetic, but unutterably sad, a sorrow beyond words, long lived with, made almost bearable in its company, in the contemplation of it.  And it seemed as though she looked at me, looked into me, and saw the melancholy within my soul--and she said to me in her gaze, I know.  I feel it in you.  You are not alone.

I could not help but weep.

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