“There!” Eyes wide, mouth smiling too strongly, she continues, “A full moon. Well, nearly full. It’s so low.” She pauses. “Great big enormous thing; it doesn’t even look real! It must be really close tonight. You feel like you could stretch out and take a chunk. Shall I scoop up a bit of moon cheese for us?”
Her chatter fills silent days. Five or six questions form a meandering rhetorical sentence, and she can relay the dullest encounter in great detail, carefully embellished, designed to make him laugh.
And she will continue doing so for as many months or years as come to them. But today is different. Today the change she started trying to ignore six months ago was complete. Today she stopped waiting for words. His face contorts into the shape of a laugh, a big broad soundless one; head thrown back, crinkled eyes and two rows of teeth line a black cavern. Instead of words now there’ll be a nod, or his eyes will lift slowly to meet hers. For a moment she hopes, then remembers that more often he’ll stare at a space just beyond where she is; a space she can’t quite inhabit.
Sitting together in the dark sitting room, blinds drawn, their eyes adjust to take in the dusting of stars across the sky. Remembering what laughter looks like, they silently admire the same nearly-full moon.