“I only asked you two questions… No, I don’t care… You have to earn trust. You can’t just do all of that and then expect me just to trust you.”
They’re arguing again upstairs. This happens a lot: the voices through the ceiling.
“Y’know, when I came into this marriage, I prayed… and I believe in God and I prayed to him that you would change…”
His words are clearest, always. That Deep South accent with the long, flat vowels. She’s sharper, more clipped. I can tell, this time she’s standing in the hall. He’s on the couch.
You can tell a lot by listening.
“You can’t tell me there are rules to this!”
That’s her. Not so Deep South, more northern, I think.
“You just walk in and ask me what I’ve done all day. Ask why I deleted the search history…”
Ah, the modern marriage. It’s all breaking up by Facebook and what have you been Googling while I was out working all day? He’s looking in the wrong place.
You can tell by the way he talks he really loves her. You can tell by the way she talks. You can tell a lot from the way people argue.
She’s on the defensive. Closed off. He’s all frustrated, over by the couch. One of them turns the TV on.
“Leave me alone,” she says. “I want to watch my show.”
“You can’t just leave this…”
It’s quiet now. They might be running out of steam. They’ve been like this for years, back and forth, the battleground of the living room above. They don’t know yet, that I can hear every word.
I wonder, what would they say? What would they do if they could hear themselves like I hear them? Would she understand?
It’s calmed down now. The TV is on. She’s watching her show, her favourite show. He’s gone quiet, like he’s run out of steam. No dramatic ending. He doesn’t know yet. It’s our secret.
Read more from Isabel Joely Black on her website.