How did I do it?
You know, I once read something about an Indian boy who, in lieu of flowers or gifts, courted the object of his affection with stories. He would gather the gossip and prattle of the street and wrap it for her in his own cheek every day, weaving tales of Bombay for her. Hardly room for a word shoved in edgewise, she just sniggered and chortled at all the comic goings on as he became more and more irreplaceable as a source of mirth. He was sort of an amorous Scheherazade, I suppose.
Touching, no? But I chose another route.
I chose cruelty.
There is nothing so easy to ply as a beautiful and vain woman. She expects adulation. She expects desire. The world has been for her nothing but a long scroll of encomium. To win her, you must simply give her the opposite–make her want you so that she can prove to herself she is undeniably desirable. So when I first saw her, with those eyes that I don’t need to waste similes and metaphor on, I knew she had been the target of more men’s suits than are worth counting. Yet still, she was alone. From this I concluded that even the arrogant boys, sufficiently convinced of their own irresistibility, must have also been shooshed away, driven from her orbits by denial. Even they had desires, after all. They’d made those needs plain enough and she had, predictably, found them and their base appraisal debasing.
No, no. She was the worst of all possible marks. Vain. Lovely. And clever. Imagine looking into every pool you strolled by and knowing right down to the depth of it. Of course, you would start to imagine you walked on the glassy surface. Of course, you would disdain the whims of the mewling little apes that wanted to mount you.
What? Was she a virgin? Of what importance are questions like that.
So, as I was saying, I chose the long game. I found a way to insinuate myself in her affairs–first an office across from her family home and then some protracted (and ultimately fanciful) business proposition for her father. I needed to be near her, and I needed to hate it.
At every meeting, a barely courteous, condescending wrinkle of the mouth to acknowledge her. A huff for every word I heard her speak in my presence.
The best was the painting. The poor girl painted. The rich need hobbies, after all. I happened to be at the house to sign an initial contract (one I’d carefully written to obligate me to nothing tangible), but naturally her father was not present (as per my design) so her gaunt, bony mother felt obliged to entertain me so that my journey across the street should not have been in vain.
So the grey woman showed me one of her paintings as the girl looked on. To the mother’s effusive praise, I initially only offered a barely audible grunt. But the old woman, God love her, pressed me, asked if I was much familiar with art, and if I ever thought of such things. I replied in the affirmative and began an exhaustive deconstruction of the image on the canvas before me, tracing its connection to various other works and movements, once slipping in the word “reductive.” The mother listened with polite nods, but the girl herself listened with a tightening jaw, understanding better than her sweet ma-ma that she was being patronized, called an imitator, patted on the head like a child who’d managed to connect a head to a body in chalk.
From then on, I knew she would be mine. Without a dash of interest, without even anything akin to scorn, I’d won her. I was the first creature on Earth to never pay her any mind, and she loved me for it.
What? When I was done with her? I’m not certain, there have been some letters, but I haven’t had time to read them.