The Smart One

by JESSICA LARSEN

She sat and stared at the man across the table from her.Her mind wandered to a lover she once had. She thought about how he knew how to touch her so well physically, but he never knew how to touch her emotionally.She remembered he thought he knew everything about women. He thought that just because she was beautiful, she needed sex just like a man does. She remembered how ridiculous she thought he was when after four days of he refusing sex he questioned her faithfulness, quoting "If you aren't getting it from me, you must be getting it somewhere else!"

How dense he was. If she said she didn't feel like it, he would just tell her to go along with it anyways. When they were finished he would look at her for reassurance that she enjoyed herself. How could she enjoy something she didn't want to do in the first place? Especially that. Why was it so hard for him to accept that he was the only one that benefited from the experience? He never understood that she would have rather been touched emotionally, because just the physical all the time gets old and eventually you want more. Truth was, she was perfectly content without sex for at least a month at a time.

Another man she was with always looked at other women when they were out.He acted as if she were crazy when it offended her. He would always say "Its ok to look, as long as you don't touch. That's the rule." Her response was "Why window shop for something you already have unless you plan to replace it?" In her mind touching and visualizing touching were one in the same.He never understood that she was just insecure.

She always put on a tough front with men. Like no man could ever hurt her. She hated to cry and would do anything possible to avoid it. She had been called cold and unemotional by some men. That was ok for her because she wanted to seem stronger than she was.The truth is, she got that way from being hurt so many times by men she cared for.

Now she was looking for someone to truly know her. Someone to appreciate her sarcastic sense of humor. Someone that wanted to learn her mind and her body. Someone that would keep the mystery so she wouldn't get bored.

She stared back at the man across the table and pushed her hair back from her face. She began to say something but stopped and looked down. She laughed to herself as she thought about "the curse", as her family and friends called it.

She remembered the one and only time she tried to have a one night stand. It was the guys idea. He didn't want a relationship, but somehow after two weeks of knowing her, he told her he loved her. Three months later he proposed. And thus "the curse" was born. Almost every man she had ever dated had told her he loved her within two weeks.

She had been proposed to five times since she was sixteen years old. She thought it was amusing her family and friends found this to be "the curse" and not the fact that none of these men really knew her. They knew none of the little things about her, like that she always wanted to dance in the rain like in those old movies. They didn't even hardly know the really important things.

She always tested men.She always said no the first time a man would ask her out. She wanted someone that would fight for her.In her mind, if the man really wanted her, he would ask again and convince her to say yes.

She looked up again at the man across from her. he was tilting his head and looked extremely nervous. She knew he was waiting. She took air deep into her lungs and released it slowly. He cleared his throat.

Her mind drifted to a man she once lived with. He wasn't a fighter. He thought she was moody and difficult. One night she was crying after an argument, and he just walked out. He told her later that he left because he couldn't stand to see her cry. He didn't understand that what she wanted more than anything was for him to stay and make things better. She wanted to be that important to him, but never was. It was the first time she felt like an inconvenience.

She never wanted to feel that again. She didn't want to settle.She wanted to be loved the right way. She pictured a couple married for fifty years. She imagined if asked how they knew it was love, they would say something like "We just knew. I felt like I knew her my whole life the first time we met." Then they would talk about all the reasons their relationship has lasted, like they cared enough to learn about each other. They learned about each others dislikes, likes, dreams, passions, weaknesses, and childhoods. Everything down to the core. That's what kept it going, because every time they learned something new, it gave them one more thing to love about that person.

She remembered the words of her grandmother, "The thing about it is, you have to have genuine interest in the other person.You have to care because they care. The things important to them have to be important to you, even if only because they are important to them. All that when you hurt I hurt crap is actually true. That's how you love someone right." She never had that, but she knew she couldn't settle for anything less.

So she sat up, lifted her head once more and stared at the man. This time deep into his eyes. He smiled. She looked down at the ring placed so perfectly in the pretty velvet box. She reached down, closed the box, gently slid it to the man across from her, stood up and walked away.

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