Bite my lip and burrow my sweaty palms in the pockets of my pants and wipe clean the evidence (though scant may it be to onlookers) that damns me for letting words spill out of my mouth that are not direct truths, but carefully composed misdirections.

Keep it clean. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

Focus on the trivialities. Keep your eyes averted.

Control. Control. Control.

How many nights have I fallen into her trap? She glistens under a spotlight moon, the sparkles in her hair send beams bouncing around the room and into the eyes and hearts of a thousand desperate men, and none more desperate than I.

Keep it clean. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

Repeat my mantras and find solace in an upturned, empty bottle. One more please. One more should do it. One more to dull her aura and push her back up upon that museum pedestal. You can gaze and you can wonder about how she would look spinning into your arms in one of her floral dresses, but you can never touch. And you will never breakthrough the barriers – the alarms, the trip wires, the protective glass – that keep you from stealing her home.

Oh, but it’s even worse than that, for even the barest mention of her beauty would be analagous to dropping your pants in front of all your friends and family. In an instant, your long-dormant lust is apparent and swollen and hideously deformed and the crowd can only point and gape at your disturbing character development.

It’s not something you can walk or run or even hide from. No, there can be no holding back the flood once the large crack has already appeared at the bottom of the levy.

So, we must guard ourselves from these dangerous thoughts. These thoughts which can do nothing but bring ruin and hurt and unease upon both the many and the few who matter. And I can play the part. I’m an actor, am I not? Have I not traveled down this perilous road before? Have I not learned (and learned and learned again) what cruel fate awaits those who tip toe too closely to the edge?

Foolish thoughts from a foolish man. But this foolish man is older now, and loathe to continue repeating himself until his breaths refuse to climb out of his lungs and his heart chooses to fall into an eternal stupor.

Keep it clean. Keep it simple. Keep it safe.

Repeat the mantras. Avert the eyes. Focus on the trivialities.

Oh, but she’s looking very special tonight –
(Keep it clean.)
Her smile looks bright enough to pop the roof off this whole place –
(Keep it simple.)
I might just have to kick off my shoes and dive into those great big blue eyes –
(Keep it safe.)

But no. Not tonight nor any night. Let her hand trail down the side of her chair without your own spidery paw meeting it at the bottom. Let a strand of hair stick out-of-place upon her forehead and far from your gently combing fingers. Let your tongue remain locked away, hidden behind a steel trap of yellowish white teeth. Let your lips crack and dry and crinkle in collective affront to a moist embrace. Let her linger by the doorway; slightly unsure whether to go or to stay, looking over your dry, steady hands and your unwavering gaze and finding the answer to a question that had been plaguing her for years.

Let her find the answer she needs, and let her go.

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