Bryan Mynan was not like most men; he was not like those guys who posed half naked, muscled and glamorous on magazines covers. He was far from that picture. In a time when even cars could be attractive, Bryan was a blotch.
Bryan was too tall and too big. He was a huge pile of flesh, bones and, above all, fat. His weight was overwhelming and his height was breathtaking. Strangely, people never noticed him until he moved. He could be seated on a bench in a park; a crowd would go by him and nobody would see him. It was as if he was translucent. But when he got up, he was a giant from the fairy tales, a monster that threatened the little village by the castle. He scared the hell out of everybody. People were disturbed by his broad, over-sized shoulders. Tall meant dangerous, big meant stupid.
Bryan was a good man, though. He was peaceful and quiet. He had a nice little apartment with plants and flowers everywhere. He liked them. Perennials didn’t judge him by his size. He had a job in a store in town. He was the person in charge of security at night. He liked it that way. Night was more appropriate for him than daylight. He didn’t pretend he was not hiding. He was too honest to do so. In fact, he really tried to slide into the dark and disappear. Even though he was used to it, he was tired of the many years of scared looks and nervous smiles whenever he met someone new. He didn’t ask for a better life. He just wanted to be like everybody else, to feel human for a minute.
Bryan didn’t understand why, even though he was heavy, he felt empty inside with nothing to make him feel warm and happy. It was as if all his weight came from his sadness and his loneliness. And, it was heaviest each morning when he went by the store of Milly Maldelbourg.
Milly had a little flower shop on Bryan’s street. She was fragile and shiny like a candle’s flame. When she moved, it seemed to Bryan that a light breeze was playing with her body making all of her moves seem light and sweet. Each time he saw her, Bryan felt something constrict in his throat and shake slowly in his stomach. It was painful and delightful at the same time. It confused him a little.
One day, a day Brian would remember for a lifetime, he was going by her shop like every other morning on his way back home. Milly was standing on a ladder painting her shop’s sign. Bryan felt the familiar shake up in his chest as he was admiring, on the sly, her shapely legs. Milly slipped and fell. And he caught her in his arms. She weighed less than an angel’s feather. He was sure she was a gift from heaven. Bryan held her tight against his chest, his big fat heart bouncing gleefully. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what to say. But he was sure that he wanted badly to keep her close to him. He didn’t dare look at her. He was afraid to see that awkward look in her eyes. He preferred to enjoy the feeling of her body against his, her warm breath on his face, the slight smell of her perfume and the soft touch of her skin. He was like a starved man in front of a feast. He felt seriously, manly, dangerously human.
He wanted this minute to last a day, but she spoke and he had to release her. She was saying something but he didn’t pay attention to it. She had a soft voice and a clear laugh that made him happy just to hear it. He looked at his arms and they were empty, again. His emptiness was deep and awful now. He needed to feel his humanity once more, desperately. Then, Milly put her hand on his with one of her gentle and light gestures. Bryan was in shock. It came from her skin through his, to his spine and his nervous system. It hurt but it was pleasant. He lifted his eyes and he saw that she was smiling and that her eyes were wide and black and that they were sparkling. She certainly was an enchantress to make him feel so bad and so great in the same second. She had put a spell on him. He was caught and he stood motionless staring at her. When she asked him if he would like to have a coffee with her, his whole body was shaking. He was anchored on the sidewalk, stricken by the lightening of her fingers on his skin. He dissolved. He disappeared into the night of his soul. And he ran away without looking back at the dainty woman standing bewildered in front of her flower shop.
Bryan was upset. He was starting to think that he was going crazy. Every night, he dreamt about Milly falling into his arms, and every night he felt sorry for himself because he was too dumb to go inside the shop and have a cup of coffee with her. It could have been something that would have made him warm and happy inside. He blamed his stupidity, his fatness, his poor language and his ugly face, all the parts of his body that made him run away like he always did. He had no doubt that she thought that he was dull. Why would Milly be different from all the others? He wanted to hide more in the darkness of his life, ashamed for what he could see peoples’ gazes.
After that angel’s fall, every time Milly saw Bryan, she always said something to him and he always answered with a shy smile. Day after day, fall to winter and then winter to spring, she kept trying to reach him in the hidden place of his soul. Every now and then, she would ask him to help her in the shop. He would do so without a word, just his shy smile and his ardent glance. He would never tell Milly how he felt. He preferred to maintain a sweet vagueness about how he thought she felt about him rather than face the painful certitude that she didn’t like him.
It could have lasted a lifetime but Milly Maldelbourg was a stubborn woman. She wanted to be in Bryan’s arms again. She had never felt as secure and desirable as she had on that day. She took that fall as a gift from love itself and she decided to preserve it and to make it grow like one of her plants. She knew that Bryan was like a wild animal and she had to win him over. She wanted to show him that she trusted his feelings for her and how she needed him. So, she decided to paint her shop’s sign again and she was determined to paint it over and over again. She was going to make her love’s gift happen once more.
And it did happen. Milly fell from the ladder and Bryan was there to receive her in his large and strong hands. She had cheated a little of course and they both knew it. Bryan didn’t release her; he kept her close to his large chest. He took advantage of her delicate body, holding it like a treasure. Bryan was elated, his heart bouncing and his blood pulsing in his veins. Milly snuggled up against him. She was where she was meant to be. When Milly kissed Bryan, her little candle’s flame warmed him up like a loving hearth. He was full of love and desire. He was nervous, a little, nd happy, a lot, like a plain tall and big man.