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If I was a character in a novel, and she was,
When I first encountered her face, and was
Stricken, truly, by its perfection, I would have
Hastened to her, and said, "Though I haven't
Yet learned your name, I am awed by your
Beauty. We should be in love," and, being
Some shallow hack's shallow invention,
And she being likewise, we would fall in
Love, though, perhaps, our creator would
Sever us later.


Sadly, the perfect-faced woman and I are
Real, and burdened with actual lives. We
Have pasts, and presents which do not so
Easily mesh as those rising out of one mind,
So it took me a week just to find out her
Name. We're both somewhat cagey. I can't
Say she's lovely. She can't say she already
Knows how I feel. We don't know where we
Stand with the rest of the world, and we dare
Not speak much. We could say something
Wrong, and people around us could begin
To gossip. Even if all went well, it would at
A tortuous pace, and it cannot go well.
We're not set-piece players in somebody's
Novel. We're hobbled by unwieldy lives.

© Lawrence Beck 2023