You Talk Too Much
She hated to repeat herself. But much to her surprise she learned to love it. The rhythm of repetition remembers forgotten forgivens fondly. Not that she did it all the time but the occasion had started to arise more than less. It didn’t bother her but she did notice that others noticed the great sex she was having with ABC.
ABC and she married that year
Then the words came and came
The love letters were beautiful and then there was a book
They settled down to tell a story
She didn’t marry young. At 30 years of age you wouldn’t call her an antique but in some cultures her shelf life had expired. She found this out the hard way. If anybody ever tells you that it doesn’t hurt when you get hit by a bus... you lie, you lie, you lie. Shocking, is the word he used. But love pulled me through, and across the pavement. I need to mention that right around this time I started talking to myself. Worthy conversations, trust me. I suppose I could have talked to him but after his reaction at City Hall... no. Imagine an astonished stare, eyes locked in contest, when you are expecting a kiss. I blinked first. Still pouting, we married. A simple ceremony, I’m told. My mind was elsewhere, waiting for the bus. Why did my age upset him so?... Take you to be my lawfully wedded husband.... I’m 15 years younger than you!... I do... What’s a marriageable age where you come from... 12!... I now pronounce you man and wife... And no,... you didn’t ask. And no,... I didn’t tell... You may kiss the bride. Still pouting...
The bus stop. Crowded too. Lunch hour downtown. People, lots of people. Most of them she knew. Some smiled, some didn’t. She was happy, happy, happy. She blinked back the tears that rolled quite a distance before she could catch them, quietly. “Happy tears” she would say, if asked. He asked. “That is good. I was worried that I might have upset you. Disappointed? No, darling. I was more surprised than shocked. Liar. Your beauty is deceptive. We met on campus, you were in class, I just assumed...” From the window she saw the train, coming fast. “And anyway, you don’t look that old. And no more school, at your age you don’t want to look ridiculous...” Didn’t he see the train, didn’t he hear it!... Shut Up! Did anybody! She looked around to see. “Can you see it coming?” There were a few, most of them knew. They stared. She blinked. “Happy tears.”
We decided to dine locally. A small place with good food. A treat for us really, we rarely ate out. Neither of us liked fast food, of any kind, and enjoyed home cooked cuisine budgeted from a household account that didn’t always balance because of an occasional burger binge. That’s a secret. “Americans”, he would say when on that rarest of rare occasions I had to have onions. "Economy, discipline and nutrition." Reasons given when asked “Baby, why not a burger.”
“Can I take your order?” He looked so uncomfortable sitting there fidgeting with the utensils. I knew this was a challenge for him and maybe a bit of a sacrifice for being such a pig earlier. Bastard. She didn’t enjoy his suffering, she understood it. In fact he was a pig. At least he ate like one and so did she, in quality, and public dining was a nightmare, for different reasons. He was used to eating with his hands, which I find natural and practical coming from any culture, different, but he was embarrassed. Economy, discipline and nutrition... my ass. If he only knew, “Americans” don’t give a shit. Not the ones you should be listening to. So, I intervened “You know baby, I thought we were going to have a nice quiet little dinner at ...” my sweet voice whispered as his flooded with relief. “Would you like to go?, because I could cook you that dish you love so much.” So much, so much.
The ring was beautiful. It was the first time she had really looked at it. She had to admit, and she did everyday, that she liked being married. “Happy Honey?” Honestly, she had never seen herself as wife or an indentured servant, it wasn’t as bad or as scary as she had imagined. “Stop imagining things.” And what images they were. Like the other day he called to say that he had just been handed a heavy research project and had to stay in the library overnight. He creepin’ Or two weeks ago when I got in the car and noticed that there was an abundance of unknown berries and dried foliage covering the surface. As if it had been sitting overnight under a tree and not the open unsheltered vista of the campus parking lot. He wanted you to leave school because And lately when at home he’s in “his room” talking on the phone. Mmm hmm, he pillow talkin’ to somebody. She looked at the ring again, trying to find the flaw. It was so beautiful, just what she had wanted. It was just her imagination. She didn’t need a crystal ball. You have a crystal ball, third finger, left hand. The phone interrupted her thoughts, “Honey, I won’t be home for dinner I have a meeting with the head...” Look again.
A Cup of Tea
Weeks of packing and planning. He had received a fellowship for his PhD and would be leaving at the end of the month. I was to follow him after packing what we did want and selling what we didn’t. I had no intention of doing either. “Tea?" This would be short and sweet. We sat sipping. “You seem distant.” She stared into her cup. “You aren’t coming are you?” She stared into him. “No.” He blinked... you lie, you lie, you lie. Astonished. “You look surprised.” "Disappointed. I think we would have been happy.” Happy hurts, sugar. “Honey?” “No.” He blinked again. They sat sipping. Her cup empty, she asked. “Tell me again, why aren’t you flying?” “Because the bus is less expensive.” Happy tears.
“What are they staring at?” 20 years. She had not noticed. It’s funny how you can live your life without so much as a backward glance. “You look good, what’s your secret?” Money, discipline and nutrition. She just smiled. “What’s your secret?” Repetition. “You repeat yourself, a lot. It’s not a criticism but an observation. I used to do it myself, all the time. A lot less now but when I was married” “That’s right you were married, to some foreign person the family never meet. You never talk about him.” “No, he was not from this country.” Americans. But he was the reason I repeat forgotten forgivens fondly. “He was the reason.” "Do tell". Americans.
Drama, mystery, comedy, thriller, suspense, romance, crime, horror. “What’s your story?” The graphic novel actually. You had to be there. A simple story. I married into a world that was strange and beautiful. Surrounded by people that were strange and beautiful. And there was a language problem. I only spoke one and they spoke many except the one that I spoke. Conversations were a challenge when every other sentence was “What?” Eventually I found that saying something twice provoked the response of communication. This being true or not I don’t know. But we started to understand one another. I was amazed at the language about and within these people. Layers and layers and layers. They spoke with their eyes, hands, body, every move was poetry. A picture. It was almost an insult to mouth the spoken word. I married a people really. “And your husband in all of this?" I hate repeating myself. Habits are hard to break.
ABCDEFG. HIJK,LMNOP...QRSTUVWXYZ. Now I’ve said my ABC’s... tell me what you think of me.
THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG