The One With The Truth About Santa
--She knew him all of her adult life. He was easily her best friend, and had been for years; she would believe, without concern or second guesses, anything he told her.
Until he uttered words totally beyond belief.
She would've thought he was joking, or playing a prank, but the look on his face and the urgency in his tone indicated otherwise. Her mind then wandered to his health. Maybe he had a fever, and was delirious. Or perhaps he hit his head somehow, knocking him silly, warping his sense of reality.
Either way, she was left utterly speechless.
With his request came the realization that she hadn't responded to his statement since he'd made it, several minutes ago.
"I don't know what to say," she admitted, then asked as she reached to touch his forehead, "Have you been feeling sick lately? You know, the flu is going around-"
He caught her hand, stopping her from making contact, and he smiled as he assured her, "I'm not sick."
"Then this is a joke, right?"
He shook his head in response.
She stood, stammering, flustered. "I don't under- This can't possibly be-"
"I know it's hard to understand, but it is quite real," he told her, finishing her incomplete sentences. "How many years have you known me?" he asked rhetorically. "Have I ever lied to you?"
Starting to pace, she alternated between several anxious actions; hugging herself, wiping her hand across her face, and running her fingers through her hair. She felt lost.
"Is this your way of breaking up with me? Are you trying to go for an insanity defense?"
"No, no," he assured her. "I don't want to break up with you! Just the opposite," he confessed. Confusion and even fear was clearly written into her expression as she looked back at him.
"If you're not looking for a way out, then why are you doing this?" she asked, on the brink of tears.
Slowly, he stood, approaching her carefully. "Please don't cry," he whispered. "I didn't tell you this to upset you. I told you this, because, I love you. I've never loved anyone as much as I love you. And you deserve to know. This is who I am."
"Who you are," she shot back, "Is a scared little boy! If you're too afraid to be in a real relationship, then don't be in one!" She tried to turn away, but he reached out to stop her, wrapping his arms around her.
"Don't do this," he pleaded. "Search your heart," he instructed. "Search your soul. Search my eyes," he added, pulling back and initiating eye contact. "You'll see. You'll know."
At first, she tried to look away, but something caught her attention. Something, deep in his eyes, she never noticed before. She found herself drawn to it, staring into the blue depths intently.
It was as if she was watching a series of home movie clips, playing out in his eyes. The intensity of emotion scared her, and she quickly turned away, stepping away from him; her head was spinning.
"Don't be afraid," he told her. "It's not frightening, it's wonderful. And I can show you, if you want me to."
"Show me what?" she asked skeptically.
"The magic of it all," he returned with a smile. "Let me share this with you, Monica," Chandler asked softly. "Let me show you the truth about who I am."
He extended his hand, reaching out for her to take it, smiling reassuringly; he could see her shaking as she cautiously set her hand in his.
The apartment was instantly bathed in a warm glow, with glitters of light flashing around them, before everything but the two of them began swirling, like a whirlpool of watercolors; it was amazing and unnerving, all at the same time…
TO BE CONTINUED…