Keep Our Silence

“I talked to my friend about love today.”

“Mm.”

“About relationships, to be exact.”

“About relationships.”

“Yeah. I asked him what he does with his girlfriend.”

“What?”

“Don’t give me that look. It’s not that. I was just wondering, what is one to do with a girlfriend? Honestly, thinking about it, it seems like one runs out of things pretty fast.”

“So what’d he say?”

“Well, he said there were movies. You could eat out. Visit themeparks. If she’s the sporty type you could play sports or visit the beach, that sort of thing.”

“Sounds like a great deal of things to do to me.”

“Well, sure, it sounds like it. But once that’s done, what then? What comes after the fun and games? My friend did mention that after a while, especially if she’s not the outdoorsy type, as a last resort you’d both be visiting each other’s houses mostly, which is what’s happening to him.”

“Okay. What’s wrong with that?”

“Yeah. But I was wondering, what if you run out of things to say? He told me if that’d happened you’re screwed, but that you’d always have things to say. But I beg to differ. I hate small talk.”

“Then that’s your problem isn’t it?”

“If you put it that way. Anyway, imagine if the both of you lived different lives… very different lives. Separate lives. She talks about what happened to her, and you’re like wondering what the hell she’s talking about. Then you talk about your day, and you realise she in turn doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about either. In the end talk progresses into common topics like the weather because that’s all you both share, something you both have common knowledge about. And there’s only going to be that much you can talk about that.”

“So what’d you propose then?”

“Silence.”

“Silence?”

“Yeah, silence. Just shut up and be together.”

“What kind of dumb shit is that?”

“I mean, think about it. If both of you share everything with each other during the honeymoon period, I’m not speaking literally here of course, then when the boredom sets in — maybe in, what, three, four months? — then what? No more words, nothing more to discover. The magic between the both of you would be gone. The curiousity’s gone. You don’t need each other anymore.”

“So you’re saying we should both just shut up.”

“Yeah, something like that.”

“You ever think that we might become estranged? Become strangers to each other? Stop talking and you lose touch with each other’s lives?”

“If you take it too far, yes, it’d become like that. It’s like a yo-yo: give-and-take. At least I think it’s like that. I mean, I haven’t tested it or anything — just a theory.”

“A stupid one.”

“Well, say what you will. Couples don’t quarrel because they have things to talk about. It’s boredom I tell you. Run out of things to say — meaningful things, romantic things — and you’ll find quarrels creeping up when before there were none. When previously you were discussing what life meant to both of you, you’ll move on to small things like keeping the toilet seat down or something.”

“Heh, hasn’t happened to me, and I’ve been with her for years.”

“Ever wished you weren’t?”

“Don’t we all? I mean, I think you’ve got too much of an idealistic look on love. Being in a relationship isn’t as straight-forward as you think. Sure, I do think of other girls once in a while. It’s only natural. I mean, look over there; she’s hot, and I’m thinking of her right now. But at the end of the day, the person I’m thinking about won’t be her. That girl’d be in my head 10 minutes max, but my girlfriend, she’s who I’m thinking about when I’m not thinking about anything.”

“You’re thinking of your girlfriend when you’re not thinking about anything? Heh.”

“Forget it. You don’t get it. It’s not quite that easy to put it into words. It’s like… how do you describe love? You know you feel it, you know you think it, but try telling how you feel to someone who’d never felt it before. People have tried — ‘warm-fuzzy feeling inside’ — but those very words can be used to describe indigestion as well. It’s just… it’s just indescribable.”

“You ever think she doesn’t feel the same about you? My friend, he’s been with his girl for four years now. Long time by most standards. He quarrels with her everyday, shouts at her, curses her, but they’re still together…”

“Wow. They love each other a lot, eh?”

“No, don’t think so. He claims he doesn’t want to break up. But you can see he wants to, only thing he doesn’t want those last four years to be wasted time. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to break. If your girlfriend calls you ten times, and you ignore all of her calls, you think that’s love? And when you finally pick up, you scold her and tell her you’re busy, when you’re not, you think that’s love? Breaking up isn’t easy.”

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