My Special Friend

It was our third date, and things had been going well. We hadn’t run out of stories to share with each other, he made me laugh, and it seemed like all our interests aligned. It just felt easy, the way they say it’s supposed to when it’s right. I’d never really believed that stuff, but then there we were. June 2010. He smiled at me across the table. I smiled back. Then he put down his wine glass.

“Okay, Edith,” he said. “Now that it looks like we’re going to be in a serious relationship, I have some requirements that I need to tell you about.”

“Okay,” I said. “Go on.”

“My first requirement is that you carry me. As in: physically pick me up and bring me around, to every place that you go. Or at least to 95% of the places.”

I blinked.

“Second, I need you to touch me. All day. Dozens, hundreds of times. It can be whenever you want once you’re awake, but it does need to be the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before bed. Plus a few times when you wake up at night. Gentle touch is fine. Preferable, actually, although I can withstand moderate pressure. And depending on what clothing you buy me — you will buy me all my clothes — I can be dropped from small heights, occasionally, and won’t mind.”

I drank some wine.

“Third,” he said, taking a deep breath, “and this is the most important: I need you to look at me more than you look at anyone else. I will do my best to entertain you by playing songs, allowing you to find pictures of almost anything, telling you breaking news and things that other people say about you or themselves, and helping you to order food. But you will need to look at me, directly into me, for at least [shlmphf] hours a day. And I am very short, as you know, so you’ll usually be tilting your head down while keeping part of your hand on the back of my body to make sure I’m angled toward you. By the time you die, your hand and neck may have actually adapted to this position, I don’t know! Anyway, I realize this is a lot, but what do you think? Are you in??”