An Exercise in Character Development
They sit down that night to talk to each other, trying to be business-like--civil and polite--patiently waiting for their turn to speak.
Mia's gaze is glued on her husband's face--following the movement of his lips and the flickering sparks of light in his black eyes, skimming the sharp tip of his Aryan nose. She is intent in her listening but the string of words tended to her, well-measured by him, carefully weighted by him, is still miles too far for her to reach, its weight too light to plumb the bottom of her despair. As he speaks, his left hand's thumb touches his opposite fingers alternately as if he is counting out the beads to string.
Sitting across from him, with the restaurant's table separating them, Mia lets her silence swallow her revolting thoughts. She drinks her unuttered words all down with her hot tea. Inside her head, she carefully selects her beads to string them into coherent sentences, while waiting for her husband to finish his monologue--as he strings his beads, she removes them one by one and lets them roll off from the edge of her mind, or selects one out for her own string.
He realizes the impasse and stops talking. "You are showing impatience. Go ahead then, it's futile for me to continue," he says to her, shoving his beads away.
Mia picks up her line carefully, "I've been thinking....For fifteen years we've been raising the children, we've been working toward a common goal to make them into talented, motivated, loving kids. We work so hard----"
Forgetting their convention, her husband cuts in, "We've done well. They are good kids."
She looks up reproachingly, "I'm not done. You don't want to listen. Do you? It's too much for you to spend another five minutes with me. Isn't it? My talk is tiring you."
He sounds tired, disinterested, "You're concerned too much about yourself. If you've been less critical of everyone, you would note how lucky we are. We have everything anyone would ask for: a good home, steady jobs, beautiful children....Yet, you----"
She raises her voice, "That's parts of being a wife and mother. I tried...I want to have an orderly home, and that's why I always get upset when things are thrown around. I want the kids successful, therefore, I spend my time correcting their mistakes. What do you want from me?"
He folds his arms, "Why are we driving here for this same trite? Let's forget this conversation. It's useless."