– short story # 2: the and –

I paint us sitting face-to-face in a studio,

cards with questions placed on the table between us,

cameras rolling to capture as much honesty as we can muster up.

“What is one thing you wish you could tell me that you’re afraid to,”

you ask upon reading the first card.

My hesitant response?

“I am jealous of your work… and the time and effort you put into it.”

Your face gives off signs of confusion.

“Sometimes, you get so caught up in fighting the good fight and standing up for what is right, I fall under this impression that I’M a mistress, and your work is your one true love,”

I say, my sunken eyes once again hopelessly transfixed on your gorgeous face. 

“I actually find myself more uncomfortable over your passion for your job than I would over any lingering feeling of desire you might have for an ex-lover. I know it’s not your fault, but your selflessness for the downtrodden – it makes me feel selfish sometimes.”

You smirk as your big brown eyes turn to glass, leaning in to reply.

“You know what I wish I could tell you?”

I silently brace myself for your words,

my eyes widening as I force my inner fear to remain still.

“I wish I could tell you how difficult it is to be in love with someone like you,”

you finish, trying to breathe with each word.

“It overwhelms me quite often just how committed you are to our relationship. I actually feel guilty sometimes because you’re here and present, giving 110% every single day to building something strong between us, and yet I can’t help but feel like I’m giving only 75%, 80% at the most.”

My heart races with thoughts of all the meanings your words could have and the words that your voice will speak next.

“We both know that’s not fair,”

you state, your voice beginning to break as you continue,

“and for me not to appreciate you as much as I do my work, or to even put that kind of feeling of neglect or doubt in you – you deserve better.”

After a split-second moment of reflection, I cautiously extend my right arm and hand across the table to hold your right hand, simply stating,

“we both deserve better.”

A smile grows on both of our faces as you take the deepest breath to keep any tear from rolling down your cheek, myself on the other hand letting my own tears fall freely.

End of portrait.

D.J. Whisenant


2 thoughts on “– short story # 2: the and –

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