Friday, February 27, 2009

Coupling


The doorbell pulled his mind from his words. Mark clicked save and closed his work. He stood and walked toward the door, reached under his shirt and scratched his itched, and straightened his shirt before he twisted the knob. "What are you doing here?" He extended his arm and palmed the jamb and prevented her entrance with his frame.

"He doesn't talk to me."

"Okay."

"Do you know how awful it is to live with someone who doesn't talk to you?"

"Is it worse than loving someone who's involved with someone else?"

"See? That's my point. You talk to me." Brady took a step toward him.

He crossed his arms over his heart. "No."

She sighed. "In so many ways you're the cruelest man I know."

"Jesus! Don't make this about me."

"I need to talk to you." She reached his cheek with her kiss.

Mark weighed her words against his inclinations and stepped away from the door. "So he doesn't talk to you. That would suck."

"It's awful."

"You want coffee?" He watched her ass as she walked into his room.

"I'll make it." She walked into the kitchen; he pushed his hands into his pockets. "Do you want to know a secret?" She opened the cupboard and took out a coffee filter.

Mark stopped in the kitchen doorway. "No. I don't want to know anything you won't say to everyone else. We can't have any intimacy. We can't. I can't do intimate with you. No."

She opened the canister and scooped the coffee. She smiled. "It's not that kind of secret. But you know Mark, you've ruined me for everybody else."

He walked into the kitchen and took two cups off their hooks. "That's just mean."

"It was. I apologize." Brady measured the water and poured it into the reservoir. "I'm still the only one?"

"Yes. I forget until you say it. You're the only one who calls me by my name."

"That's sad." She took her palm and caressed his cheek.

"Don't." He stepped back. "What's the secret?"

"Oh." She opened the refrigerator door and grasped the cream. She put the carton on the counter. "Well, I don't know if it's a secret but women don't want men to listen to them. Not really. We want men to talk to us."

He leaned against the counter. "Seriously?"

She leaned against a counter. "Sure. We have people who listen to us. Women listen to each other. What we really want from men is for them to talk to us."

"How about when women say, are you listening to me?"

"Well, then it's important to her and she wants you to understand that. That's different. I'm talking in generalities. Women want men to talk to us."

He stood straight and opened a drawer and took out two spoons. "Did you ask him why he isn't talking to you?"

"Mark, he doesn't know he's not talking to me."

He crossed his arms. "Are you going to marry him?"

"No." She stepped to the coffeemaker and filled both cups. "You know that old joke about women talking all the time?"

"Sure."

"Do you know why we do? To fill the silence." She handed him his cup.

"Men do that too." He remembered the equal and grabbed it out of a cupboard. "It's why they leave the TV on or have to play music all the time. I'm the only guy I know who doesn't turn on the radio the moment a buddy gets in my car."

"So you get that." Brady spooned and then stirred.

"Get that people hate quiet?" He shook and stirred.

"No, Mark. Get that you're the only guy." She turned and walked out of his kitchen.