He always opened doors for ladies. and thanked you if you made him tea: in all the facile worlds he entered, he defined life’s mannered courtesies, but something in his bearing told you his instincts were all predatory. He swam through life’s corralled regions, assessed you as he passed you by: were you worth him impressing, or merely getting in his way.
Could you help him with his progress, or briefly slake his thirst for pleasures? Or were you flotsam, low in value, barely worth the air you breathed? Always courteous, that’s a given, he sought only for short-term pleasures while talking of the larger game, indicating past successes but modestly kept the details vague. New women brought out the laughter, he bought them cocktails by the yard, dazzled them with his connections, who they might meet in time perhaps.
But if he were to meet your daughter, your heart would fill with tragedy, because, shielded by polished bravado, you knew the man was all at sea. The only thing which made him sober was a life more tragic than his own. With men who drank to find composure, or ladies careless with their dress, he might drop his guard a little, and admit his life was full of mess. Moving on was his solution, he kept the conversation light, but ghosts, we know, are famed for patience, waiting out the daylight hours, rising out of your subconscious, to prod those wounds you keep from sight.
We all need love and recognition, but first you must believe them real. Feel a look filled with compassion is not a plan to make you ill. Care beyond his comprehension might heal him, if he learned to trust. Faith is all God asked of him because without it we are lost.