Every morning I wake up at the same time to get ready for work. It is the same routine every day--I put the coffee on, take a shower, come out, have some breakfast and coffee. My girlfriend emerges to join me for my breakfast at this point. We are still warm and communicative this early in the morning.

I return to the bedroom to get dressed. My suit and shirt are neatly pressed. I pass my girlfriend on the way into the bathroom to adjust my tie in the mirror. This takes a few moments, as I must be perfect. I return to the kitchen to read the newspaper my girlfriend has left there. She is reading the financial section. I turn to politics.

When she returns she is wearing a sharp skirt suit in black with a white blouse. She is wearing glasses now. Her hair is perfect. I lower the paper to give her a cold look. I glance at the clock. "Shouldn't you be going?" she asks. I nod curtly and leave. I enjoy work. I run into her at lunch at the cafe, and we talk business over coffee. We are cold but polite--cold in the sense that there is no warmth left between us. She drinks an iced latte. I drink black coffee. We argue about the economy and stocks, but politely.

I work late tonight. When I come home she is sleeping on the bed. I hang up my suit and tie and change into boxers and a t-shirt. She wakes up as I slide into bed and smiles at me--no longer perfectly arrayed for work. I tell her she's beautiful and she kisses me softly, and we lie in bed, enjoying each others' warmth. In the morning it will be the same. We'll get dressed and pretend we are polite business partners. We will quarrel politely over coffee at lunch. We will present our perfect selves to the world.

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