Meaning What?

by Vincent Borgese

“You don’t like me, you like the idea of me,” she said while searching for a matching sandal.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean,” he frowned sarcastically. “I like your personality, I like your face, I like your body, I like your passion — I like you!”

“You like that I’m an independent single woman living on her own who enjoys some of the things you do: movies, cooking, sex. But do you like me? If I stripped away all the things you cherish, would you like what remained?”

“What’s left? So I should overlook the things that make you you, the things that attracted me to you in the first place, and decide, what? If I like this shell that remains. I don’t get it.”

“All the rest are fillers, fluff, the things we do to pass time. But when we have nothing, is there something?”

“Have you been reading your mom’s self-help books again? I don’t get it. What brought this on? Did I say something, or do something that triggered this?”

“It’s what you don’t say that bothers the crap out of me. You don’t penetrate me with your eyes, you look around me. You look at things and places and people, but you don’t look inside. You don’t look inside me.”

“Are you hungry? Is that what this is about? I get stuck with a customer, get here an hour late, and now I’m not penetrating you with my eyes?”

“Alright, let’s drop it. I can see you’re in no mood to delve deeper than your growling stomach,” she said wistfully while putting on her sandal.

“Me? Sounds like you’re the one who’s hangry.”

“Gino’s.”

“What?”

“Let’s-go-to-Gi-no’s,” she said as she repeated each syllable slowly.

“So, you were hungry?”

Am hungry,” she replied.

He turned toward her, cleared the hair from her left cheek, and while penetrating her with his eyes, said “I love you.”