“Tell me you love me…”

She asks me gently and I think to myself,

“What if I don’t? What if I can’t?”

“I love you.”

, I say, and it feels venal. I know she is already mine. I don’t need to say it to get her. To keep her, yes, not to get her.

“I love you too.”

How do you know you love me? You do not even know me. I am an imagination, a beautiful illusion. I may be married, a family man, and I do this for the kicks, as I am waiting to pick up my children from school, or as I keep my wife company, as she tells me about her day.

She turns and gives me that look that says, “Put that phone away. You belong to me now.” Tee hee hee.

She jokes that I may be, what with all my unexplained disappearances and reappearances and slick apologies. I am not, by the way. Maybe to myself and my thoughts, heavy ones as befit a young man.

“I love you and I don’t even know you.”

“We may as well enjoy this madness, then.”

This is going to be a bloodbath.

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