“Do you like the silence?”
The words felt awkward the minute he’d used them.
“I’m not sure I know what you mean?”
He reached down and took a sip from the cold coffee without moving his eyes.
“Actually, I’m not sure I do either” he scanned the room looking for help, some inspiration from somewhere.
“Why did you say it then?”
She sounded angry, at least he thought she did. Probably. Maybe. He wasn’t sure, but in this situation it was always best to side with caution.
“I dunno, I… I just. . . . I’m sorry.” A sigh left his mouth, though the last few h’s stuck to his bottom lip. His shoulders dropping so quickly and unwittingly that for a moment he thought he felt the weight of his own head.
“Sorry? What are you sorry for, do you even know?”
I’m not getting drawn into this one. Not again, he thought. He knew he wasn’t the only person to have had that thought and he also knew he was almost certainly going to get drawn into this one. Again.
“Look, I, I just mean to say that I’m not sure I can handle the cold, silent treatment. I mean, I get it, ok? I understand the reasoning behind it all,” his confidence began to swell with each word, “but frankly this is shit. I’ve spent the last 6 days staring at the walls, wishing they’d close in. I’ve barely eaten, I’ve drunk more in the last week than I did in the whole of December and can’t even remember the last piece of work I actually did. I don’t like it and more importantly I don’t want to like it”.
“Are you quite finished?”
He paused for a moment, the confidence draining from him like yesterday’s bath water. “Yes.”
He knew she was thinking.
He stared at the screen.
“It’s not all about you. You know that, right?” He nodded in agreement towards the words.
“You can’t have it your own way all of the time. It just doesn’t work like that. I know you know that.”
“I just..” his fingers fell from the keyboard, defeated.
He tried again, “I can’t…”
“It’s hard. I know it is. It’s hard for me too, you must know that?”
It was his turn to sit in silence. He stared at his fingers, poised over the keys considering an answer that needed no thought at all. He believed her. He always did. He trusted her with his entire life so why would he suddenly have reason to doubt her now? He took a deep breath.