If you are in a couple, you probably don’t notice it and no one of the outside will even mention it, but whatever draws the two together and presents to the world your names together with “and” you have a language all your own. Whether the time together is short or long term, there are those special little statements or nods or winks that only the two of you know.
I just spent a weekend with a couple of couples and have some observations that I found interesting. A couple of the gentlemen I have known in one manner or another for several years while others not so much. The ladies are mostly unfamiliar to me but are accepted by selection. We have all become somewhat comfortable with each other even if I am alone and a stranger.
I clarify the situations by saying we don’t gather very often. Some I contact with email occasionally but I would not recognize their voices on a phone. Every now and again we get into a discussion but usually it is about something that happened decades ago.
So yesterday we gathered to say “Goodbye” to my second mother. It is not the best of circumstances that brings us together but here we were. A presentation of a dragon and the welcome of the grandson would help relieve some of the emotion. A round of scotch then another surprises me but these friends used to share substances before and now had become professional at it.
After some consolations the genders separated to reviewing photos and make small talk about the children while the others shared the origins and ingredients of several bottles proving the spectacle of alcohol on our lives. An agreement to the placement of the dragon is confirmed because that is what couples do. Not to overstay our welcome, we move on to another location, another couple and another drink.
Again the genders separate and the conversation seems to pick up where it left off the last we met. Like an old boys school we talked music, electronics, and computers. Then, as the ladies joined us, we were off again to a restaurant that no one remembered the name or could find on every describable technical gadget.
As we settled in I stopped talking and listened to the couples go through their interwoven signals and actions. The gentlemen who just minutes earlier had been sharing laughter became different interacting as a couple. Much like teenagers on a date the conversations get silly with phrases and innuendos that only the two understand.
In the course of the following payback meal a few interrogation questions were answered by my blathering trying to fill in gaps that this couple do not know. There is so much these people do not know about me and there is so much I do not know about this couple but we are relaxed in each other’s company so that counts for something. As we wove our way around town looking for an acceptable place for her daughter to stay, each important location was pointed out as a history lesson. I find out we all have history in this town. I also hear the parental concern that I don’t remember from the couple known as mom and dad.
Finally stopping for the reason of the day I crawl out of the chariot and put on the heavy black jacket that I had taken out of musty storage upstairs. In the usual atmosphere for the occasion we were lead into the viewing. Now I’m not good at these situations and try to avoid them but this was my friend’s mother and was the proper thing to do, even in my jeans and tennis shoes. As we entered the room with more couples we did our polite quiet talk and hugs. It was the perfect southern atmosphere from the cities best at this grisly business but I hung back against the wall. I was introduced to some of the family members that I don’t remember their names, but this is not a party.
An open coffin was presented across the room with family and friends standing around viewing the deceased and probably discussing distant times. I did not join them. Even when I was offered to attend the ceremony to place the body into the ground, I graciously declined.
As I watched strangers walk into the room and sign the guest book and be properly greeted by family I just stood there. Then a woman I had seen trying to make eye contact came up to me and said, “You look familiar.” I introduced myself without recognizing her name as she picked up the good baby and tried to make conversation. This is too weird.
On leaving I made an offer to the couple to extend the time but they had a couple of family things to do so we said, “Goodbye.” Then there was an interesting statement made by the shotgun rider. She had made a special effort to approve my kitchen appliances and cabinets with a brief recommendation on how to finish the surface.
So before the car left she looked about the yard and said something to the effect she expected more changes the next time around. It wasn’t an order but I thought it was an unusual request. I’m not judging the comment but it does say something about how this couple ticks. It is just an outsider’s observation into a world of winks and nods and secret communications that works for these two people.
I was part of a couple. I was part of a couple a couple of times. I had those secret nods and winks and phrases that only the two of us knew. Now, better than television or a good movie, I enjoy the conversations of couples.
Thanks for the weekend entertainment over a sad subject.