Monday, September 02, 2013

THE ATOMS RELAX

"More?" she asks, and even though I'm about tea'ed out I nod and say "yes, please." Anything to keep the conversation going.

We are sitting in my kitchen, both of our phones plugged in and face down. It's been a long time since we last spoke and the conversation is stilted; so much to say and no good way to say it, so much that should never be given another thought but can never be forgotten.

We instead engage in the stupid ritual of Small Talk: gossip about work and mutual acquaintances, the new Katy Perry vs. Gaga, how about that JT performance at the VMAs, and how are your folks? Good, good. Going through the motions, we are, two people in a third-floor walkup on a late-summer night.

Neither one of us is comfortable. Neither one of us wants to leave it this way. But there is no sense in trying to scratch below the surface. That would only draw blood and leave scars. Besides, there is a certain practiced ease to the chit-chat, a natural vibe that comes from the place where we began as friends.

I think about Mia in Pulp Fiction and her definition of kismet: "That's when you know you've found somebody special. When you can just shut the fuck up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence." It's the one thing I've always felt with this woman, the one thing that distinguishes her from everyone I've ever known. There has never been the need to blah blah blah about bullshit.

We sit in silence and the mood shifts, the awkward crackle dissipates, the atoms around us relax. I smile into my tea. I halfway expect her to open up a book and start reading, or turn on the TV and thumb through the remote. Somehow that sounds glorious.

I look up. So does she. Our eyes meet and we exchange small smiles. We can be friends, I hear her say in my head. I nod, pick up the teapot. It is my turn to pour.

As her cup is filled the piano plays the E notes to start "Runaway" by Kanye West. I open my eyes: 5:30 a.m. Time to turn off the alarm.

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