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Tuesday
Jul282015

Texting

He brought the groceries in. She put them away. This division in labor arose of its own accord after several grocery experiments. In the beginning, they both carried them in and put them away but, after years of buying groceries together, the refined process simply arranged itself. How? Neither could say. A dropped bag here. A misplaced bag of chips there. Collisions. And now this is how it was.

“How you doing?” he asked. She put away the celery and closed the refrigerator.

When she asked him the night before about attending her work party, he did in fact say “Sounds good.” But he wondered now, as he mowed the grass, if he hadn’t said “Sounds good.” with the proper enthusiasm. Was that why she was angry? But he really wanted to go. The enthusiasm that animated the expression of his desire needed some work. “SOUNDS GOOD,” he practiced in the noise of the mower. Too much. “Sounds GOOD!” Maybe. “Sounds gooooood.” Creepy. He killed the mower’s engine and checked his work. Missed a spot.

As he undressed to shower, she looked him up and down and smiled with a bounce of her neatly plucked eyebrows. Yes, but why didn’t she answer him in the kitchen?

He watched a football game on TV and questioned his assumption that she was angry. Maybe her silence merely implied that she wasn’t well and didn’t want to talk about it. It has nothing to do with him. Okay, but why didn’t she want to talk about it? Wasn’t he, her husband, a safe harbor for all her woes? Did his lack of enthusiasm when he said “Sounds good.” destroy the space where she could open up and be vulnerable? He noted the new level to which her silence was about him. Okay, maybe she wasn’t well but she didn’t want to burden him with the details. Couples do that for one another all the time. It’s courteous, a good thing. Him again. Okay, maybe she just has cancer and cancer is scary. But?

Maybe she didn’t hear him. That was most definitely probably it.

She read in bed and he wondered why she was angry. He did, he knows, eat the last Klondike Bar. He should’ve grabbed more. They were just at the grocery store. He almost decided that she was angry because he forgot to empty the dishwasher when it occurred to him that, in silence, ambiguity is the place where anything lives. She didn’t respond for an infinite number of reasons and all of them, each one at the same time, inhabited her pregnant silence. She’s pregnant! No. But silence is pregnant with a richness that resists inquiry. Her face blocked half the lamp. He looked at half the lamp. He looked at her face. She appeared in the light that outshines our thoughts about the light. He emerged from this reverie to think You are so fucking beautiful before he fell asleep.

“I’m fine. How R U?” she said and closed her book.