She stared out the window on her left. Her smartphone resting in both hands. She just finished sending an email to her boss. I could tell because she has this habit of typing out loud. As if trying to make sure to write what she was saying and thinking.
“Don’t you miss it?” I asked.
“The sunsets from up there.”
We used to love the sunsets. When everyone else were in a hurry to go home and fight the traffic. We chose to stay behind. When the sunsets were amazing we’d somehow always end up sitting in the office guest room quietly enjoying the sun’s disappearing act.
“You think?” she checked her phone again. I’m guessing for any reply from her boss. Her new boss.
“I miss those sunsets.” she said quietly still.
I turned down the radio and she repeated her sentence.
“I miss the quiet we shared.” she said afterwards.
I bit my bottom lip because I wanted to say the same thing.
But I thought, if quiet is what she misses then that is what I’ll give her.
Hence for the remaining of our rendezvous we stayed quiet.
We stayed quiet at the theater. I ordered the tickets and condiments from a machine. We watched in silence. We held hands in silence. We had dinner in silence. The waiter must have thought we were in a fight but seemed confused when she cleaned the gravy from the side of my mouth with her napkin. We stargazed in silence. I took her home in silence and kissed her forehead.
“I don’t talk much.” I explained to her once. When the sunset was a soft mixture of cornflower blue and fiery orange like somebody up there just spilled a powerful potion in the heavens.
“I talk only when necessary. About necessary matters.”
“You see. People use “see” when they come to understand things. Instead of I “say”, Right?”
“Yes and No.” she said catching the sunset with her gadget and sharing it with the world.
“Yes, because that is what people usually say when they are eye to eye about things. Because seeing is believing. And no because in order to tell someone you understand you should say something in return. Or else their explanations will seem vain.”
“You sure like to talk, do you? You could’ve just nodded and I would know.”
She went silent. Ever since then she only talked when I asked her something. Stupid me.
I remember you were suddenly able to walk quickly. There were half a dozen of us, rushing to COOP because some other members of our tour said the chocolate prices there were a whole lot cheaper. We rode the escalator that went beneath the intersection. And voila! we found ourselves in a small shopping district. So brightly lit and so airy, I thought we couldn’t possibly be underground.
And there it was at the back of the shopping district with bright orange letters you wouldn’t miss, COOP. Our last hope for chocolates to bring to our friends and relatives back home. Mba Siska one of your colleagues pointed the aisle were the best bargain chocolates were.
Almost instantly, I grabbed 5 bars of fifty cent chocolates. The brand design made them look like cheap bulk chocolates, but we thought, who cares as long as “Made in Switzerland” was written in the back.
I forgot why I was being snappy at you. Perhaps it was because of all of the rushing and considering what to buy—taking things off the shelf and putting them back on the shelf– and then queueing, and then just me queueing alone because your friend said there was another aisle with cheaper chocolate. I guess I was irritated because our line was getting really short, two baskets full of chocolate at my feet and wondering how the heck we were going to fill our suitcases with this much chocolate let alone take them all the way back to the hotel.
I’m sorry for treating you the way I did. The way I sometimes still do. You are the sweetest, most patient and loving man I get to call my husband.
You write so well, you make me want to steal words from your fingertips.
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