The Non-Conversation

by cynthiarendon

I love that you read. You love that I read. So it’s only natural that we read together. Often. Sometimes the same novel, sometimes not. Sometimes the same New Yorker article, sometimes not. Sometimes the same book of poetry, sometimes not (and yes, I know you’re not the biggest poetry fan, but I appreciate your effort). You know what else I love, that those afternoons are spent almost saying nothing to each other at all. Not that I don’t love talking to you, but we both lead such verbal, over-articulated lives that sometimes we just need to be quiet (Ha! I’m sure 😉 )

Those afternoons on the couch together are like paintings. Yes, paintings.

Like still life water colors, as Simon and Garfunkel once said.

There, we sit in front of our big bay window, bathed in mid-afternoon sunlight, facing each other with our legs sprawled out in front of us. The sunlight that beams through the curtained lace creates snowflake-like designs on our hardwood floors.
The sun begins to set a bit and shadows start to wash the room. There, we continue to sit and sip our coffee from each other’s alma maters’ mugs. There, I take sip after sip.

As I take my latest sip, I finally look up and catch a glimpse of the mug before I set it down. Your alma mater’s emblem. I’m suddenly taken to years ago.

There, we ride in my somewhat worn and always dirty white Jeep (the perfect road trip companion, we’ve come to find), taking our first road trip together. We wanted to visit each other’s alma maters and give each other tours. Remember? Remember how head over heels we were for each other that we just had to know where each of us had spent those four years of our lives? How much we wanted to show each other our old haunts, hookup spots, and locations that incited old memories?

And so as to have some sort of memento of our first trip as a couple, we got each other cheesy mugs. Yep, mundane mugs. Mugs that have proven to be quite useful, however — as here we are, drinking out of them years later.

I smile at you from across the couch — glasses falling to the tip of your nose, your index finger ready to turn to the next page, your mouth slightly open, engaged by the story being told in front of your eyes. You snap out of it for some reason and finally look up at me.


“What do you mean, ‘what?'”

“Why are you looking at me all weird? Did you finish your precious Bécquer?”, you say in your classic mocking tone.

I point to your mug and you look.

“Do you remember that?”

You reply, your smile gradually widening, “Of course.”

And though that’s all we say to each other for the next hour or so; and though we are still about three feet away from each other — your hand has indeed taken mine.