What are you going to write?

As soon as I spend any time with a woman who finds my silly stories, she becomes paranoid about becoming a subject. I prefer to refer to her as an inspiration. She inspires me to write commentary about relationships. That’s a fruitless defense.

“Yeah, right. I’ve read your commentaries.”

“But …”

“They don’t seem flattering to people you are trying to attract and seduce.”

“But …”

“I know. I know. You’re trying to be funny.”

“But …”

“No woman is going to drop her guard around you while she’s worried about becoming the brunt of your sarcasm.”

He sighs. He adjusts.

She’s it. My instincts are screaming at me. More than fine art. More than a companion. More than what she knows, says, or does. She has a beauty identified by my subconscious that interrupts my thoughts and draws me toward her. Is it the tone of her voice? The sparkle in her eyes? Our love of things common? Or is it simply her stunning beauty? I’ll never know.

There’s a barrier — I’m aged and seasoned with the bitterness of relationship failure. She’s young with a horizon full of opportunities. For her, I’d be a great coach and rock of emotional support. For me, she’d be one final sip from the fountain of youth — a salve for the many scars I’ve earned.

“Do you have any idea how old I am?” she asks.

“Do you have any idea how little that matters? There’s a reason old clothes are comfortable. Try me on.”

Of course, while she did ask that, I had not the courage to respond as I have written. I just said, “Yes.” As much as I love making people smile and laugh, causing discomfort that close is painful to me. Sure, a confident guy would do what all women say they want. He’d lay it all out there. He’d do what it takes. He’d prove his love, no matter what. He’d chase his prey.

This struggle finds me often. I guess what it comes down to is I just don’t have the temperament to be “that guy.” I’m stuck. She’s a rare beauty who stumbled across my crooked path. I’m honored and unwilling to lose the chance to take a few steps with someone so special by being anything but such a nice guy.

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