succinct, pt. 3

He dresses himself the next day with the intention of looking careful, like his careful girl. He remembers reading somewhere that if you look sharp you will be sharp, and it sounded compelling, perhaps because it used words like 'study.' Even as he follows the advice of the ephemeral article in question he questions it. He certainly doesn't feel any sharper or more attentive.

Still, he has to admit, he is standing up straight and there is a swagger to his step that he doesn't usually have. Today he feels like, as he takes his coffee on the train, he may just look like a busy and, no doubt, interesting professional.

Then he starts really thinking about that email from earlier. Or rather, he starts thinking about himself--about how he sees things. His life, his job, his habits. His relationship with his careful girl. It is, he decides, quite different from the reality of things. He is not sure of anything about himself, really. He knows only what he thinks he knows. Did he mean something by calling her by that little nickname he'd never used before? It felt so natural, and he certainly didn't think about it.

Could he have meant something by it? Was he somehow insincere without knowing it, or, worse, was he somehow sincere without knowing it? What is, as the bard put it, in a name? Would not a rose by any other name smell just as sweet? Would not calling a rose by some other name naturally raise suspicion? Why would you call a rose by some other name?

Distracted with these thoughts he misses his stop for work and has to take the train one stop in the other direction. He arrives late and disheveled, having completely forgotten why he is dressing up and looking sharp. He has to talk to his careful rose tonight.

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