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Incredibly Miserably
 

    The problem, Phil reckons, is not him, but her.  Her unwillingness to love him stands as the one obstacle to happiness for him and her.  Her social boundaries keep him outside looking in, because, inside, a woman like her could never admit a man like him, nor should a man like him entertain the notion of loving a woman like her.  She can’t even see outside while the amusements of so-called social worth skew her version of reality.  Sure, moneysexfame might enhance happiness, but it certainly does not produce it, for isn’t happiness essentially the satisfaction with one’s own self?  And who could not be satisfied with herself around him, whose relative grotesqueness makes every beautiful thing more beautiful in contrast, whose own personal dissatisfaction makes others feel more self-contented?  A tall man is taller next to a short man.  A rich man is richer next to a poor man.  A perfect woman is more perfect next to an ugly, pathetic man.  

    An errant shot had sent the volleyball rolling toward the water, with Victoria and one of the surfer dudes simultaneously chasing after it.  Running and shoving and laughing to retrieve the ball first, their too-many legs clumsily become intertwined, resulting in the predictable collapse onto the sand and the inevitable significant pause in which the two stare into one another’s eyes, only to be interrupted by the cold startling incoming surf.  They abruptly jump to their feet and brush off, like the sand stuck to their skin, the weightiness of their romantic exchange.

    Odd, thinks Phil, that they would act so with such a crowd, with so many eyes privy to what he would imagine to be an intimate moment.  The crowd, though, may as well have been a looping sound effect, so easily does every minor occurrence set them to a-clapping, and they again clap, showing their appreciation of romance, as Victoria and the surfer dude return with the ball.  Phil is less enthusiastic.  Now the jealous and possessive admirer, he feels betrayed by this brazen display of public affection.  Obviously she knows scrutinizing eyes follow her every movement.  She knew he watched along with everyone else as she rolled around in the sand.  She didn’t care.  The gradual realization that perhaps she only acts for the sake of her audience irritates Phil.  She acts, they all watch.  The scene in the sand wasn’t about her newfound love interest, but rather the attention she derives from the appearance of having a newfound love interest.  Suddenly this beefed-up macho beach bum, whether he realizes or not, is cast into the same lot as Phil; that is, another sidelined devotee, irrelevant but for the collective purpose of feeding her ego.  The harsh difference between them, though, is that she would never even pretend to acknowledge Phil.  While she’d flirt with the handsome affluent types, with no actual intentions of commitment, she would likely have a good chuckle at the idea of Phil as a suitor.  She would probably shriek if they tumbled to the sand together.  Phil knows, of course, that she is better than him, that he doesn’t deserve her, but the knowledge that she knows she is better than him, that she knows she is impossible and he is pathetic, impulsively enrages him, so much so that he lunges forward out of his barstool, slamming down his fist, and, now standing, embarrassed, heads to the bathroom.



 
 
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