Either, Or

by gm

Guy Gavriel Kay


She doesn’t like being understood, which makes
loneliness complicated, though you could take the
(perfectly valid) view that all loneliness is complex,
or really simple. Either, or. She wouldn’t even
be pleased that her dislikes are understood.
She walks Manhattan streets in March, long-
striding through snow melting to slush, in new boots
bought to assuage (however inadequately) her latest
iteration of midwinter blues. A southern girl in
New York, what could one reasonably expect?
She flashes confidence in her stride, at work,
in a bar with friends, end of day, into night.
She withdraws inside, seeing them falling for it,
knowing she’s only flashing, really – another
fly façade among too many in this city.
But our own mirror matters most, has to do that,
unless we’re maybe in love and then the image offered
by the one we’ve (maybe) fallen for might mean more.
Either, or. It’s hard to fall in love with people we can fool.