Meet I and You. These are the names of the characters in the following flash fiction story, which is told in the third person. As you'd imagine, the character named I is thoroughly self centered, seeing only what I wants to see. The grammar may take a little getting used to, but these characters were born to embody their names in this little story about love and listening. It all begins with I looking for love the way that only I knows how...
I AND YOU
By Linda Eve Diamond
I was walking along through life one night when I saw I’s own reflection in the eyes of another. I looked at I and smiled; I no longer felt alone. I was eye to eye with I. I talked and I talked all night long. I-I had so many things in common. By and by, I and I fell in love.
I and I saw eye to eye on everything, so it seemed. Until one day, I started talking crazy. I was sure I must have been mistaken. I don’t think that way, I said. I know, said I. What is this? I wondered. My beloved reflection is distorted; there’s a crack in the mirror. This is bad luck. Can it somehow be repaired? I just stared.
I and I were never the quite the same. I was not looking at someone just like I, someone first in person, first in importance, first in knowing what is right—I was looking at You. You! I said in disbelief. You said your name was I. It is, protested I. I am I, but I am my own I, just as you are. I see the world through my I, as you see it through yours. To keep us from getting more confused, it really is best to call me You. But make no mistake, I live in first person, too, second only in name to you, I, as you are second in name to me.
I marveled at this person peeking out from behind the loving eyes I thought I knew so well. How could this be? I only looked as far as the I-lid, the surface things that made us look the same and how I reflected in your I’s as You shared my thoughts and dreams. And here You are, bursting through the seams. Do I know You? Should I? And who are We if you’re this You I’ve never truly seen?
You looked at I for a long time. You repeated all the things I never heard since I met You. I realized I had missed something: You never saw as eye to eye as I believed. You told your truth, but I thought You would grow up, wake up, suck it up, because I loved the I in You so much I didn’t want to lose You—or was it I I held so tightly?
You said, sadly, that I never loved You. You spoke at length about longing to be known, to be heard. I listened. Sort of. The way I always listens. So what I hear You saying, I said, is that You want to learn to be more like I.
You squinted at I. You said a few things that got through. I stopped to wonder about You. I felt a surge of love for the You I never knew. But then You said goodbye to I. In my defense, I said, Maybe You need someone more like You. You said, I do, and so do You. With that I cried. I did need You, but all I knew to listen for was I.
© Linda Eve Diamond