I was feeling terribly akward sitting in the car with her. It always bothered me that I was the older one, the man, and was still always reduced to being in her debt via the need for transportation. She always excercised fantastic powers over me, her ability to make me feel inadequate was the only one in which I understood the cause - I had no reason not to drive.

Her slow humanization over the last few months had ravaged my perception of her, and I couldn't stop wondering why I seen traits in her that obviously weren't there. I had created a perfect woman, and slapped someone else's face on her. It's strange days that follow the realization that you forced yourself to fall in love.

It was relieving to see her as she really was, less like the portrait, more like the frame. She wasn't a masterpiece of feminity crafted by God, but rather helped to hold up the one I created.

I couldn't help but laugh, half of it from relief, half of it to ease to tension. She wanted to know why.

"What's so funny?"


We pulled into my driveway, I took a look at her before opening the door and stepping out. She followed, much to my suprise, and walked with me to the door. I fumbled for the keys, not knowing what to make of this. Eventually I managed to push the door open.

I put my stuff away in my bedroom, and she placed herself on my couch. I nonchalantly browsed through my refridgerator, trying to hide the fact that I didn't know what to do with her here.

I gave up, and sat on the recliner. I laughed, this time out of pure tension.

"What is it, why do you keep laughing?"

"I don't know, it's nothing."

"No, no, it's something. What's wrong?"

I supressed a self-indulgent scream that wanted to tell her this very moment was all wrong. Instead, it came out as another laugh. I quickly put it down. She got a frustrated look on her face.

"You can't hide this from me, if you don't tell me I'll find out. What's the matter?"

I smiled, and looked away.

"Nothing's wrong, I'm fine."

She stood up, and moved over to me. I was laying back in the recliner, and she sat down on my stomach, grabbed my wrists, and looked me in the eyes. It tickled me to know that it bothered her that I wouldn't tell her anything. Finally, I had something over her.

"Don't do this to me, please."

"Nothing's wrong, ok? I'm fine."

I smiled again. It was a lie. I wasn't fine. I was heartbroken. I had been forced to see that the one thing that made me feel alive wasn't real. I had realized it was all make believe, all pretend. I didn't like pretending, especially when it felt real.

Of course, I was pretending right then and there, telling her nothing was wrong. The pain felt real.

She sighed, and laid on me, resting her head on my shoulder. She was exercising her ability to make me feel like I couldn't win, and it worked. She knew this kind of physical contact reduced my insides to a thick and gooey sugar substitute.

I sighed with her.

"I love you."

"I love you."

We had made love before, but this would be the first time we did it with our bodies. The love felt real again, and this time in a whole new way. I could stop pretending. I had taken the painting from its frame, and discovered a whole new work underneath. And it was crafted much more vividly than what I had seen before.