You Were Always Prettier On Paper

You handed me my iced coffee every morning with two crinkled napkins wrapped around it. You knew how my hands grow frigid so quickly. You always brought an extra Spenda in case they only put in one instead of two. You tried convincing me to stop using artificial sweeteners but I would always sneak one behind your back. You always caught me, rolled your eyes and said, “Whatever makes you happy.”

You had perfect almond eyes that were colored dark chocolate. I think brown eyes are underrated. I loved the tint of caramel that swirled inward toward your pupils. You would tell me that my green eyes were beautiful but I always envied yours. When I laughed you would point out my dimples that I wish I could get rid of. You would joke that you would find a doctor one day to remove them and give to someone else. You believed nothing should go to waste. One’s absent desire is someone else’s craving.

You always wore that black blazer whenever we went out. It was starting to grow old, but it still appeared flawlessly stitched together on your muscular body. It fit like a glove. You would constantly offer it to me when we had a long walk home in the cold. I always declined twice before you just took it off and gently placed it over my shoulders. You would grab my hand and hold it where our fingers were locked together since I liked it better than when they are cuffed. I was always preoccupied with concentrating on my balance walking around in heels. I lacked poise yet tried to impress you. You found it cute when I would stumble on the cobblestone path outside your apartment.

You would hold your hand over my stomach when I woke up complaining of cramps. You’d always made my favorite tea that tasted like cinnamon and gingersnaps. I always woke up to your boundless care that didn’t seem real. Nothing ever seemed real. This is what I always wrote of on a piece of paper.

Yet everything that happened, was real. You had real eyes and real laughs. You had a real father who said I was the daughter he never had. We went to real restaurants where you would treat me to luxurious meals that surpassed every exceptional expectation. But that was the problem, everything was real. You weren’t just an embodiment of perfection I had sketched out on a piece of stained loose-leaf. You were 100% alive and 100% mine. But I was 100% not in love with you.

You fit everything I wanted: the eyes, the height, the voice, the family. Everything was unconditionally perfect and it drove me crazy. All the pieces were there but nothing matched up. You even screwed up in ways that were beautiful. I am supposed to cherish you—love you—be grateful for having you. But I wasn’t. I didn’t want anything to do with your chocolate eyes or powder skin. It was a realization that broke me apart every time I tried to deny this absence of passion. I couldn’t force this deficient desire to suddenly spark out of the uncomfortable air that lied between us. You and I just didn’t work.

You were always prettier on paper. TC Mark

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