They are the perfect couple. She is petite and beautiful and can't live with anyone. He is older, more arrogant, and has classical manners she finds pleasing, but he ignores his children because they've failed him. She tells her girlfriends, "He gave me life."

He tells himself, "I love the softness of her. The sensitivity. I love her anger."

Her girlfriends ask, "What is it like?"

"Like I am a princess," she says. "I can have anything. He can deny me nothing."

He watches her graceful walk, touches her smooth skin, kisses her clean and delicate mouth and feels more in loving her then he thought he was capable of. She gives me someone to need, he thinks.

"I love him too much," she tells her sister. "And if it should end, I would not know what to do."

He writes in his journal. "Her children are rebellious and selfish and she blames it on the fathers. But they have her genes, her lack of strength, her needs, her willingness to fight or to quit."

He buys her horses and admires her creativity. He builds a life for her around her childhood dreams and he smiles when she wears the long dresses he buys.

She thinks he is a loner, yet he comes to watch her bathe with a look so pure it is childlike and splashes water into her face. She delights in teasing him, knowing no one else would dare.

They cling to each other and push the world away. Their children suffer. They wonder: What has become of Dad? What is wrong with Mom?

She thinks the words he speaks. They finish sentences the other has started. She wants milk and eggs and he comes through the door after stopping first at the grocery on what he believes to be a whim.

Their physical love is so potent they hardly need communicate yet they talk constantly. He buys two cell phones so they can talk throughout the day.

Her sister complains, "You're never around."

"I'm so busy with the horses...and with him."

She tells him to take custody of his children, but he will not because it would take from her time.

He asks for sex. She asks for kisses. They meet each noon for lunch and when some thing or some one interferes they roar like angry lions. They cling passionately to an ideal love they know is idiotic and yet, here it is, as real as anything they've ever felt.

He writes in his journal, "She's angry because she loves too much." And he vows to never fail or flaunt or gain at her expense.

She asks her sister, "Why don't my children love me? I only wanted the best." And she dreams of the home she knows will finally come.

He tells himself, "She is so like me. So confident. So insecure. She cannot live without a mate."

They are the perfect couple. They turn from the disappointments of life to each other as if they are staring into shiny mirrors. And they say, all day long, "I love you, I love you," as if saying it to themselves.


Gary Cadwallader lives in Kansas City. He likes long walks in the moonlight and the sound of rain on the cardboard box where he lives. He's nearly 187 years old and is a billionaire from stocks he bought during the civil war. Reach him at:

We are conditioned by films and books to expect to find our soul mate. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. A woman finds a man and then rebuilds him to become her soul mate. It isn't an easy thing to do. Quite often if involves bondage and duct tape. If a woman can't rebuild her man, she gets a divorce. Sometimes, after many failed marriages and a lowering of her standards, the woman will find her way to me.

I mold just like plastique.

I see the people in "The Perfect Love" as happy and contented. This is what happens when the guy says, "And they lived happily ever after."

Bits and pieces of this story were taken from my own life, then twisted a bit because I'm a big fat liar. And also because I have limited space in my cardboard box.

OK, I lied again. I'm not fat, but I used to be.



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