Billy told the girl that she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
He meant to say, “room”.
But Gloria heard “world” because Billy said world, and that’s all that mattered.
It meant the world to her.
To Billy, the world would no longer be uncertain, but it would instead be unlikable.
They got married, and spent their lives together.
Two children, a dog, two cats, a house, a fence, a yard, a grill, but only ever one car.
She was beautiful throughout, no matter what room they entered.
But out in the world, she remained plain and simple and Billy only ever felt “happy enough” with her.
Not that Gloria loved him at all any more, after so many years.
She no longer felt like the most beautiful girl in the world, but she was at peace with this.
What made her feel more upset was the idea that Billy saved his looks of love, his passionate gaze, for those few times when they were together in a crowded room, like he had to force his eyes on her just so as not to be distracted.
So, she would always look away and he would chase her and they would make love on those few nights each year, and then go back to wondering why they’d spent their lives together.
They lived happy enough ever after.