A Little Talk

It had been a long day in a long week in a long couple of years... He was tired and she was frustrated; he wanted to sleep and she wanted to talk; they had been there before, and he was sure they would be there again. He knew of her discontent, but he didn't think there was much he could do about it. He fancied himself a levelheaded man, hard working and honest, who had enough trouble without looking for more. He didn't intend to be cold or indifferent, but he knew that he sometimes came across that way. She, on the other hand, liked to worry. The minutest detail of the most meaningless issue had to be held up to the light and scrutinized. It was just her way. When she shopped, she picked up every item and looked at it - whether she intended to buy it or not! He didn't like it, not at all; but what was he to do? He loved her; he just didn't like the way she did things. If the truth be told, she wouldn't like other folks who were like that, but she wasn't aware that she was like that.

They had often talked, and often she had spoken and he had listened; more often, however, he hadn't paid any attention. She didn't know that for sure, he thought, but he was sure that she suspected it. This often led her to say things she otherwise would not have said - some of them outlandish things - just to make sure he was listening. He always managed to catch it when she said something like that, or at least he thought he had. She would surely make something of it if he had agreed to something in itself ridiculous, he thought. He knew he should try to listen, and he decided that next time he would...

"Why don't you love me anymore?"

"I do."


”No, you don't love me like you used to."

"Sure I do."

"Not like when we were dating or first married."

"I do."

"I don't think you do."

"That isn't a very nice thing to say."

"But I believe it is true."

"It isn't."

"I think it is."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, for one thing, we never talk anymore."

"We do."

"Not like before."

"We are talking now."

"Not like before. You just sit there and stare off into the distance. Sometimes I don't think you even hear, much less listen."

"I hear you."

"But you are not talking. Why don't you say something?”

"I am talking - and saying something."

"Say something that pertains to the conversation."

"You say enough for the both of us."

"Don't be mean."

"I'm being serious."

"Fine, I'll shut up."

"No, I'm sorry. Please go on."

"Why don't we talk?"

"About what?"



"Be serious."

"Baseball's part of 'anything."

"You know what I mean."

"Yes, you want to talk about 'anything' so long as 'anything' means only things you want to talk about."

"That may be true, but I'd like to think that we had something better than baseball to discuss."

"What do you have against baseball?"

"Nothing, it's just not very romantic."

"OK. How about racing?"

"There you go again. Don't make fun, I'm serious."

"OK, what do you want to talk about?"

"Some of the things we used to discuss."

"OK, you start.”

"No, I want you to start."

"Now, you see, that's partly why we don't talk anymore."

"Don't make fun."

"Give me an example of a subject, and I'll start.”

"No, you pick."

"We could talk about the weather."

"That would get old fast."

"Well, it is always changing."

"If you don't want to be serious..."

"All right. What did we "used" to talk about?"


"We used to talk about our future, what we would do, where we would live, our kids, growing old together... Things like that."

"OK. Take those things. The future we talked about back then is now. We are doing what we discussed then - at least if we are not, we have only ourselves to blame. There is no need to plan further on our kids, there are here now and soon will be gone. As for growing old, we are doing that, too. Someday, if all goes well, we'll get sick and die. What is there to discuss there?"

"You're a true romantic."

"Never claimed to be."

"It wouldn't hurt you to try, though, would it?"

"This is as good as it gets."

"I'll hush. It's no use trying to talk to you."

"You're probably right - you usually have good judgment about those things."

"Good night."

"Good night."

H. L. Gradowith


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