Monday, March 18, 2013

Trifecta: It's Sad


It’s sad.

I never want to be like them.

It’s none of my business.

But I want to shake each and every one of them anyway.

Surrounding us, table upon table, are couples not much older than us sitting directly across from each other on a Sunday evening. Women silently eat looking a few inches over their husbands’ left shoulder at nothing in particular. Men mutely guide pizza to their mouths gazing not at their wives but mindlessly towards whatever game is playing on the bar's television.

No words are exchanged except, “Check please.”

Not that I hear.

Or intimate smiles.

Or angry eyes even.

Not that I see.

I speak though no one hears me. 

“Don’t you notice it too? Do you even care? Is this what it becomes?”

As if I my thoughts can somehow infect them with the ardor, passion, and intensity they once had. For each other. For something. For anything it seems. 

I turn away from the room when I feel my attention being pulled back.

He smiles.

“But I want to shake each one of them.”

“It’s none of our business.”

“I won’t let that happen.”

65 comments:

  1. i don't wanna be one of them either - and i know EXACTLY what ur talking about!

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    1. Erika, I notice ALL THE TIME. I don't know why but I'm kind of fixated on it. It's none of my business but I truly hate seeing it. Believe me, I am glued to the ones that still flirt with each other. That makes me happy. I am an equal opportunity people watcher.

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  2. So much said in so few words. Really great job! I won't be one of them!

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    1. Thanks, Intarsia. I refuse to be!!!

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  3. Awww yes. That is sad. I've had dinners like that. Sometimes part of my entertainment is looking around and guessing who is married, dating or having an affair.

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    1. When there is a mix, it's so fun to guess. But each and every couple in the place sat silently. And I'm talking at least six, if not eight. I've been out recently with a dating couple. Now that was fun to see!

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  4. Scary.. think that a future like that might lie ahead.

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    1. It is scary. Not for me if I have any say in the matter.

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  5. I have noticed that and feel so sorry for them as a couple, and as individuals. You have to choose to be happy with yourself, in order to be happy together.

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    1. It's like they were resided to the fact that there was nothing there. I couldn't see a spark. Nothing at all. My husband noticed (after I pointed it out, of course). It was a great opportunity to talk about it. I absolutely agree that it starts with yourself and emanates from there.

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  6. Its painful to see that. This was very good.

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    1. It was so painful. I wanted not to look but I couldn't stop looking. Thank you, Carolyn.

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  7. ugh ... give me a vampire story any day .. this is a true horror story!

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    1. The worst kind of horror story...the loss of love or caring or...I don't even know what but a tremendous one indeed. It spells loneliness to me.

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  8. This is sad. We don't have a chance to go out much, but when we do, I'll probably look for this as well, now that you wrote about it :)

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    1. We have a chance to go out ALL the time but we don't have small kids and even when we did I always insisted we talk about anything OTHER than them. It seems it's all you talk about when they are young because they are so time consuming!

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  9. Sadly in a way WE do become them, life changes as do feelings and notions ... I understood this and think you have handled the take with honesty of an every day occurrence in our lives as we grow older. Taking for granted...

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    1. I realize feelings change, transform... It seems so purely everyday and that is what caused me to pause. This is some peoples' everyday. I don't want that kind but maybe we all do become them but I am certainly hopeful that will not be the case...bored with each other...

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  10. Very true, and it happens almost before you know it. The difference is, and people-watchers don't see this, there are other moments for most of these couples, tonight just wasn't one of them. You captured this beautifully.

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    1. Oh, I understand that I am only seeing a snapshot. I am very observant but also extremely perceptive. I get it but I can't stand to face that if it truly is reality of long term marriage. But if it is the reality, there may or may not be something to do about it.

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  11. I love the way you people watch and then reflect on it. Some of your better stuff, I think.

    I hope Sandra and the others are right--that this was just an off night for the couple. Lord knows, we all have them. I'm still in the "HOLY SHIT, WE GOT A SITTER, LET'S PARTY" stage, but I'm hoping we keep the party alive as we age.

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    1. Thank you, Trifecta. It's something I've always done...people watch.

      If it were just one couple of a certain age, I would have chalked it up to a long weekend and they were tired and just filling their bellies. I'm counting the tables in my head...six. Six other couples and one family with older kids. Of those 7 couples, not one was speaking.

      We used to treat our "sitter" nights the same way...WOO HOO...let's do it up. We still do even without the sitters but we also have more than our fill of quiet nights at home. We "make" our own parties, our own fun. That is something I am completely sure about!!!

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  12. I watched a couple last week and still haven't decided what was going on. They both pulled out books and read through their meal, but I can't decide if reading together was joyful or a useful excuse not to have to talk.

    They didn't really show an expression, but I swear a good book brings it out of you even if you don't like the person you are with.

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    1. There are and have been times where we have read the Sunday paper at breakfast after church but then we tend to say "did you hear about this" "Can you believe..." "What do you think about...?" I'm not sure it's an excuse for us or an opportunity.

      A good book, you can't help but express something or talk about it but first you have to be reading with a likeminded reader...

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  13. the truth is that I talk entirely too much to ever have this happen (LOL) but I do get very sad when I see two people with nothing to say to one another or when we're both in our phones (because that does happen too)

    Often when I sit down and it's just John and I , I will say to him.."I'm putting my phone at the bottom of my purse and it it's ok with you, I don't want to talk about Gio or Jacob...until later" It makes it much easier to talk about movies or The Rangers or if there was an episode of Blue Bloods we haven't watched yet.

    this was very good.

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    1. The truth is that I can be quiet at times so I try not to be if we are out. At home is another story. I HATE when people are on their phones. Drives me nuts.

      I do something similar when we go out. I actually don't bring a purse or phone or money...Just me. My "date" has a phone for all emergencies and he doesn't mind sticking my lipgloss in his pocket...usually!

      Thank you Kir!

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  14. We are not always huge talkers, me being a major introvert, but we are always, always connected. It makes me sad when I see people together who so obviously aren't.

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    1. I totally understand the not huge talkers part. I can be a person of few words at times but there are ways, as you note, to still be/feel connected. That's the vibe I was hitting on exactly. When I see couples that don't seem connected, I feel sad for them. As I feel sad for myself when I'm not feeling particularly connected. Ebbs and flows, I guess.

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  15. Depressing. Though we have friends who go out almost every night and sometimes they say they don't talk much. They always try and sit at the bar so they can talk to the chef-waiter

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    1. We have eaten at the bar of a restaurant when there hasn't been seats available in the dining room. It is fun to interact with the bartender/waiter along with your mate.

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  16. I was in one of those marriages and now when I see the couples with the blank stares, i think "never again". A thoughtful piece. Well done!

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    1. You are currently on the road to change. And I predict you won't have that problem in you sparkling new and fresh marriage. Thank you, as always, lumdog.

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  17. The sad thing is that people so regularly don't realise they have reached that point. Nice write.

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    1. I think you get there much, much earlier, I agree. Truly sad to watch. Wonder if they even realize?

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  18. I have been in that kind of relationship before. I am very lucky that Lance and I never run out of things to talk about.

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    1. There are times we don't talk like when reading but generally, there are a hundred things to talk about if you try.

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  19. It warms my heart, that after nearly 27 years married, my husband and I still hold hands when we're out. It's one thing to be comfortable in a relationship, and quite another to be detached..

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    1. We hold hands a lot too. It connects people, feeling them physically. I 'm so happy for you! You hit the nail on the head with the word "detached" and it can happen so very quickly.

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  20. Great read. I people watch too, and I know what you mean. I'm thankful to have been with mine since '99 and it just gets better--he especially loves to stroke my long hair when we are standing in line at the grocery or wherever. I love it--and him!

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    1. How romantic!!!! And lucky!!! Good for you. Thanks for liking my observation.

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  21. A sad image indeed. I notice such couples too. My heart goes out to them. But I guess that doesn't happen over night. Great take on the prompt.

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    1. It doesn't happen overnight but I bet it happens quickly. Thanks, Jamie!

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  22. Now I'll be looking for this at every restaurant I go to in the future. Sad image, but great writing!

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    1. Unfortunately, you will see it everywhere :-(

      Thanks, Draug.

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  23. A great life lesson here! Great job, Gina, this was a really sweet read.

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    1. Thanks, Christine. It takes work, a relationship.

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  24. Funny how women stare at nothing while men watch the game. Fingers crossed!

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    1. Sometimes when my husband is staring at the tv while I'm reading, I will ask him what's going on and he'll say he wasn't really watching. Then I think, but you're looking at the tv, how do you not know? His way of spacing out, I suppose while my mind reads and drifts...

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  25. We are always so distracted by life that we don't often see what is right in front of us!

    Great job with the prompt!

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  26. you may have just convinced me that zombies truly do exist ;)

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    1. That's EXACTLY what they looked like.

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  27. I know what you mean about not wanting to lose the passion. I used to worry about that, every time there was a break in the conversation. But now I don't worry, because sometimes the silence is just rest, between moments of great romance.

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    1. No, I get what you're saying. I am sort of a quiet person but with a lot to say. This seemed different. An indifference to each other. That's the perception I picked up. Boredom. And I gt bored too. There was something else missing. Thanks for reading.

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  28. Interesting....to infect romance ? I enjoyed the story...

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    1. That's an awesome viris to be infected with, wouldn't you say? Romance! Thank you.

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  29. I don't want to end up like that either!! Intriguing idea that you could get inside this couple's head and make them feel something ANYTHING!

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    1. Maybe if I pinched them they'd feel something?

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  30. Awesome writing, I'm certainly glad I voted for this story and you got 2nd place! And the fact that you are a fellow Chicagoan further cements my appreciation of this piece. Great job!

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    1. Thank you, thank you Lenny!!! Yes, I am from Chicago. I will come and visit your website to check out a Chi-town guy! Great city, stinky weather right now.

      And hey! Thanks for following me. I love comments so always feel free to chime in!

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  31. Great use of the prompt in your writing. I always wonder why these people even go out to a meal together? Silence does happen, but detachment is something different. Body language says a lot more than words and you caught that in your piece. I often lament to my husband that we don't talk like we used to, but we still talk except of course if there is a soccer game on tv! I love to people watch as well, so if we have nothing to talk about we'll talk about what we see around us. We have a ritual at dinner where we go around the table and say what was the best part of our day. If we forget to do this our 6-year old son reminds us!

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    1. That's what I seem to almost obsessively analysis. Body language. And I've become very good at it. The detachment is brutally painful to see. A lot of times, if we aren't talking about much which is sort of nice sometimes, we devise stories about people based how what they're doing how they're acting. The whackier the better. Makes us laugh.

      That is really a wonderful idea to keep your kids engaged during dinner. The most important part, to us, was always sitting down together. Every night. Even when there was fighting, homework stress,etc. So important.

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  32. I've been there. It's awful. This is why we smile when we see a tottering old couple still holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. Beautifully written and great incorporation of the prompt word.

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    1. I LOVE seeing old couples holding hands. Somehow it makes me feel the love too. Thank you so much, rangewriter.

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