A MAN CHERISHES his lady and he owes nobody an explanation, but in my case I have a whole catalogue of reasons why Gillian is worth protecting, some of which I'll share. First, she's the only woman I've ever met who hasn't asked me to adjust my persona, enlarge my heart, tweak my ideas, or alter my language, and this from a lady with Opinions. Second, she cradles me at night and hymns Nina Simone softly in my ear — that in itself is worth the price of murder. Only the thane of a prosperous land receives that kind of cuddling. Third, her lovemaking is as close as I'll ever get to being a spaceman, and every man wants to strut on the moon. (In the past — I'm ashamed to admit — before I had met Gillian, tenderness, compassion, and concern had always strangled my otherwise meaty libido. I had to dislike the gal in order to climax. Shrews, bozos, those with shrunken cerebellum — they were the only ones I found alluring. Sex with a generous and beautiful woman felt a little like pissing on a flower.) Fourth, she has no annoying emotional complications, wasn't neglected or abused by Big Daddy when she was six years old, pigtails bouncing as she hopped. Fifth, she cares for my ailing father when she can, visits him every week, brings him presents, and giggles at his not-funny jokes. If you knew my father you'd be mightily impressed by this: a killjoy with half a dozen heart-related maladies, he's no prince to be around. And lastly, Gillian and I have never had a single argument (although, yes, there was that one time we agreed to disagree about having children: she said two sounded nice and I said they sounded like smallpox). You might call this unnatural, unhealthy, or untrue, but I call it a nice fit.
And I remembered what my layabout life was like before her, nothing even vaguely kinetic in my breast and limbs, me a somber piece of animal in gym shorts and a sweatshirt far from the gym and not sweating. See me chopsticking dinner alone at the House of Wong on a Friday night; or scrolling up and down an Internet dating site on a Saturday afternoon, and then in bed by nine with an unannotated copy of Psychopathia Sexualis; or visiting my blasé parents on a Sunday because I had no one else to call on, my college pals dispersed across two continents and my only boyhood friend constantly in goggles and a wetsuit in some other hemisphere.
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