Future Musings, Revisited
The wooden kitchen table is smallish, by American standards, and looks as though it’s had its fair share of life lived on it. Children pushing too hard with their pens drawing epic battles of pirate ships fighting aliens or the random scribbles of a Sunday dinner’s worth of grocery list items. She’s sitting with remarkable posture for a woman of her age, half a century removed from her childhood and looking through an organic gardening magazine while she waits for the teapot to whistle her back to the task at hand. Silvery hair clinging to the few remaining strawberry and honey strands she has left catching the light that’s just waterfalling through the window under the summer Zenith sun.
He’s drawing dark black circles around a Victoria’s Secret model whose found herself defenseless on the cover of the Fall Line Catalog. The circles are nearly perfect, save for a few random wanderers who defy the ages of practice his hand has mastered, even as his eyesight has been half-assing it more and more as the clocks tic toc on and get replaced, one after another.
Trees are growing in the back yard. Bees are helping the flowers make love to each other and the neighbors dog is still missing after a week and a half. She knows he’s not coming back, after all, she’s seen the traffic pick up over the years on 32nd Street, even as he hasn’t noticed it all that much. In fact, he’s adamantly silent in his knowledge that the dog is fine.
He smiles a little at the thought of it all just as the kettle eases it’s way into a good solid whistle. She thinks she’s very adept at picking up on these things, when something goes wrong half way across the world she’s certain that she gets a twitch in her knee and a drop in her stomach. She’s constantly calling friends on the phone for no reason, frantic while dialing and bursting into “Hello Angela?! Are you okay, is everything alright?” It usually is. But she doesn’t let her record count against her.
He, on the other hand, doesn’t worry about anything anymore. Every human, he supposes, only has so much of any given emotion to use up in his life, and he was either running on empty to begin with, or left that particular light on too long as a youth. Not that he’s right more often than she is, it’s just that in reality, things go wrong alot less than they go right. “It’s all about statistics,” he says, as she turns down the flame on the stove and makes her way to tea.
She heard him, but after all of these years she knows when he’s just accidentally finished a thought that was supposed to be in his brain but ended up falling out of his mouth.
“Milk?” she asks. She knows the answer.
“No thanks,” he says. If she hadn’t asked, the answer would have been yes. He likes milk, but he also likes the idea of turning it down, showing some will power. She finds it amusing to play along.
“I’d really like to go to Chile,” she says as she carefully places his mug next to him and sits down, sliding her chair closer to his own, so that they can both feel the heat of each other’s drinks mixing together.
“Yeah?” he says, generally inquisitive but uncertain of where she might head with the conversation.
A few month’s later she brings it up, but in the moment that’s all. She laughs at what he’s done to the young model on the cover of the catalog, he notices. He smiles.
“How long has it been since we’ve bought something from them?” The question mark just escapes before her lips slide down over her mug. He just smiles. They’ve had the conversation before, a hundred times. There are plenty of conversations that they don’t even have anymore. One of them will just bring something up.
“Remember Morocco, the second time?” “Remember when the boys used to play football in the attic?” “Remember the tree swing?”
These used to be great flaming Roman candles of nostalgia, dripping hot wax and flailing bouncing sparks of speech and wordplay. Now they’re just introductions to a wave of easiness. It’s not that they have nothing to talk about, or don’t want to discuss. But now they can just set a thought out on the table and sit there thinking about it, knowing that the other person’s thinking of it too.
He looks up and smiles at her. “God, you’re gorgeous.”
Silence wraps around them both as she blushes a little and bats her eyes, unknowingly. The sun continues to sit at the top of the sky and the bees, tuckered out, roll over and fall asleep.
A dog is barking outside, the neighbors dog.
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