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What’s he doing now? A candle? Doesn’t he know I’m plastic? Doesn’t he know I burn? He definitely read the instructions before he got me out the box. I saw him. Did he really not see what they said?

Seriously. Keep that fire away from me. Dim the lights if you want but, really, keep it away. I know what I’m for and I’m not sure it’s any of this. Knives, forks, plates, napkins. Me sitting at a table. I mean, come on.

Then again, look at this place. He probably doesn’t know what anything is for. Look at that poor book holding the table leg up. Did it ask for that? All it wants is to be read. The table as well. How must it feel? Awful, I bet, to be in a situation like that. It must be so embarrassed.

Really, though, what does he think this is? A date? God. Yes. That must be what he thinks. Of course. What a joke! That explains the candle. And the food. I haven’t even got teeth. Or a stomach. I can’t taste a thing. Granted, my mouth’s open, but what’s that for? Definitely not penne arrabiata or whatever it is he’s cooked.

Oh, coque au vin. Excellent. And what’s he expect me to do with that? Yes. It’s not much. And maybe you have overcooked the vegetables, but what’s that to me?

God, I’ve never seen so much fuss. What’s he doing now? Cutting it. As if I need help, as if I’m a paraplegic or something. God. Where’s he going to put it?

Right, of course. Because that’s romantic, isn’t it, feeding each other, though how I’m supposed to – oh, like that. Of course. That makes sense. Me feeding him even though clearly it’s his hand on my wrist. Him helping me helping him feed him.

And what am I supposed to do with this stuff in my mouth now? Or has he put it all there to make it a bit more human, a bit more fluid and gooey? God knows.

What’s that? What’s he saying now? His job. Of course. Because I’m interested that he’s unemployed at the moment, a victim of the economic downtown, and living with his parents. Right. Yes.

Look. Look at me. I’m here. Use me the way I’m supposed to be used. You cannot hear my thoughts and I cannot respond to your words.

What do you want from me? Companionship? Understanding? Does a sock give you love? Well, good point, maybe it does, but it’s supposed to keep your foot warm. Just like I’m not supposed to sit here and do first date small talk.

What am I? Oh, right, yes, of course I am. I’m not the usual woman you go out with. I’m not your type. You’re surprised I said yes.

Yes, yes, yes, get on with it. No wonder I’m here and no one else is. A person that is. But maybe I should be grateful, no? He’s not just some brute, is he? No. He’s kind. He’s giving me time and companionship. He’s being friendly instead of just taking me out the box and using me there and then before casting me aside.

He’s gentle. Look. He’s apologising, excusing himself for being so rude. What about me? Of course. He’s been talking about himself so much he’s forgotten that I might want to talk too – where are his manners? Speak. Say where I’m from, talk about my family, my past, my job, because, yes, I have two sisters, one older and one younger – how did you guess?

Yes, of course. Yes. Both of them are married, the younger one maybe a bit too soon, which has put me in a bit of an awkward predicament, but what can you do?

They’ve got kids too. Of course they have. And husbands with strong careers while I’m sort of the plain Jane of the family, the librarian who does voluntary work, but who also inexplicably turns up on first dates wearing stockings and suspenders underneath these cheap, foosty charity shop clothes he put over me after getting me out of the box, making me respectable while, I presume, fulfilling some kind of fantasy that all librarians and plain Janes are secretly dirty. I’m surprised he hasn’t put a pair of glasses on me.

But, then again, maybe this is better. Maybe this is how I’m supposed to be treated. Like something more than I am, which is kind of stupid, but kind of nice too.

He’s not stuffing me back in the box after he’s done with me or using me to hold up a table. He’s not letting me gather dust or throwing me around in a bout of self hatred. He’s not laughing at me or stubbing cigarettes out on my arms just to see what happens.

No. He’s not.

Which is sweet, really, isn’t it, even if deep down all I really want is for him to get his dick out and fuck me.

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