Saturday, May 17, 2014

Silent Scribblings

From the moment they walked into the bookstore, they spoke not a word.

She made a beeline for the movie books, grabbing a coffee table book about Irving Thalberg, and a volume of Michael Palin's diaries.  She piled on a copy of "Poems You Should Have Read, But Didn't Because You Were Educated in America", and three magazines.  (Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, and Writer's Digest.)  She waddled under the weight of knowledge towards the table near the window, and dive bombed her tower upon it.

He arrived soon after, with three computer magazines, an architecture retrospective that took up a whole corner of the table, and an "Organize Your Life in Ten Easy Steps" guide.  He sorted his books into a neat pile, biggest to smallest, and put his phone down next to it, parallel and in the direction of the table's faux wood grain.

"London fog?"  he asked.
"Yes." she answered.

She shoved her reading material over to one side, and sat down.  In a moment, she was up again, spanking both hips forward and backward.  She then pat her chest, repeatedly, making a slight squeaking sound as she did so.  She was in the middle of taking off her boot when she heard her phone ring.... the satchel she wore across her shoulder.

"Found it!" she said to him, after she answered it.
"Good."  he said, then hung up.

She carefully put the phone down in front of her, then sat down again.

He walked back to the table slowly, in a balancing act of activity.  He put his iced cappuccino, and her hot tea down to-gether.  He then removed the plate of cookies from off the top of his cup, and put them in the middle of the table.  He quietly scooted her tea to her side of the table.

She did not look up.

He sat down, and watched her, cautious look on his face.

The pencil in her hand scratched a quick path across the page in her journal.  It went on and on, line after line, as her breath quickened.  She paused, growling slightly, grasping desperately at the air until the right word came to her.  When it did, she was face down again, scribbling and panting the idea out of her, as if exorcising a bad spirit.

He wanted desperately to look at her words, hoping to find out why she was so stirred up.  Did he drive too fast? (She still wasn't used to the way he had to navigate in a big city.)  Was the rain worrying her? (She was so used to storms being a bad omen.)  Did he say something to her to make her upset?  Did he not say something to her to make her upset?

Could he say something now?  (No. He knew better than to interrupt now.)

He looked through his magazines, scanning them instead of reading them.  Occasionally he would find a paragraph worth remembering, and took a picture of it with his cell phone camera.  He sneaked a look at her every now and then, which was easy to do.  She was at the sighing, and fist thumping stage of her writing.

Why was writing so hard?  Why couldn't the correct words come out at the same time as the burning ideas that rattled in her head?  She knew what she wanted to say, but she couldn't say it in proper English. She could only jot down incomplete phrases separated by ellipses that took over the paper like a peculiar version of pointillism.

It was a good thing she was a poet, and not a writer.  She'd drive herself mad if she had to be precise.

Finally, after the stream of ideas slowed down, she was able to put down her pencil.  She picked up her tea, which had cooled to the lukewarm soup-like consistency that she liked.  Drinking it gave her the feeling of warmth, and calmness that she needed at that moment.

"Doing good?" he asked.

He nodded.

"It won't come out right.  I can't write."
"Yes you can."

She sighed dramatically.

"Well it isn't working out now."
"I get it.....but you've been through this before.  It always comes back."
"Maybe not this time!  Maybe I'll never write again!"

He slowly pushed the cookie plate closer to her.

"I highly doubt that."

She grabbed a cookie, and dunked it in her tea.  She swished it boldly, then took half of it in her mouth in one bite.  He hid a smile.  He loved how genteel and proper she wasn't.

"Quit laughing." she said, with her mouth full of cookie mess.
"I'm not laughing.  I'm just sitting here."

She giggled in that girlish way he liked.  It was sudden, and melodic, breaking all tension with its unpredictability.  It made him want to get up quickly, and throw his arms around her.

Instead, he reached over, and took hold of her hand.

"Read a little.  Let it sit for awhile.  It'll come back to you."

He squeezed her hand reassuringly.

"Because it's part of you.  You can't speak without it.  It's what you were born to do."

She looked at him in amazement.  He looked back, calm and sure.

He really knew her.  She didn't know how, but he really knew her.  It thrilled her, and scared her at the same time.

But mostly there was love.

She squeezed his hand, then pounced on the People Magazine.  Soon she was lost in Kardashian fashions, and heartwarming stories about canine amputees.

They spent the rest of the stormy afternoon in the bookstore..... reading.... writing.... texting to each other.... and dwelling in the reassuring camaraderie of two people in love learning about each other .....

.....each without saying a word.

1 comment:

  1. These characters are engaging. The story is well written. I would enjoy reading more about them.