I confessed to a friend shortly before our first date that I didn’t know what I’d do if he kissed me, if I’d be able to stomach it.
But Simon and I had a lot in common and he made me laugh.
My husband, unlike all the men I’d dated before him, was handsome.
In the early days of us dating, he’d often catch me looking at him.
I often hid behind my glasses, slinging my hair over my face in a concerted effort to keep any attention off of me.
Before the man that’d become my husband, I’d mostly dated fellow intellectuals: men with glasses, rail-thin or chubby, men who never went to the gym or gave much thought to their own personal appearance.
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He was cheap and vain, only allowing photos of himself to be taken from the neck-up or at high angles to hide his large stomach or portray his face as thinner. He lied constantly about things that mattered and things that didn’t. He took photos of me when I wasn’t looking or made me pose because I’d “worn a cute outfit.” He read my poetry and loved it, often quoting my own lines to me or asking out of the blue how I’d come up with a certain image. After a painful and neglectful marriage that had been like climbing my way onto a piece of wood after the sinking of the Titanic, I took everything Simon would give me.
The first time I noticed the look, Simon and I hadn’t been dating that long.
We were in Oxford, MS celebrating his birthday, and I watched the same exact look pass over the faces of the hotel clerk, the bookstore cashier, and the server at an upscale restaurant on the town square.
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