She Only Laughs On The Inside

The sun was oppressive and hot.
The air was heavy
Like a burden we had put down to rest.
We were sitting together over a light lunch
In the shade, there was a soft breeze.
“It’s nice,” I said. Silence. “Here together,” I added.
She said nothing. I looked over at her.
Time passed as the flowers
Watched the sun move slightly higher.
I was still looking over at her.
“What?” she said.
“Did you hear me?” I asked.
“Yes” she said. “I heard you.”
I searched her for a response.
Even the flowers were nodding.
“What? she repeated. “I answered.”
“No you didn’t.”
“I did too,” she said. “In my head.”

And therein lies the unresolvable, the unfathomable
Difference in this world between people who
Actually say things they are thinking
And those who think things and
But never actually say them.
Somehow, in their heads, this is an equivalency.
Perhaps, in their heads, they are conversationalists
Who evoke emotion and enrichment;
In their heads they are funny and endearing.
They participate fully in the world, in their heads.
But we are left with an inappropriate emptiness
That, in their heads, they have filled to overflowing
With effervescence; wiith personality and purpose.
Inside, they are fully functioning in the give and take
Of life. They are true players in the game.
Inside, they are roiling with opinions and pithy tidbits
That bring down the house and that stir the passions.
Inside, where this realm of wonder (which I long
To share with her) exists, they rock a world
That none can see.

Watching her finish her gazpacho and pita, with a long
Draft of iced tea and lemon, I saw her eyes close
In a small ecstasy. Inside, I knew,
She was in the throws of small pleasure. She put down
Her glass and touched the napkin to her lips, like
Kissing a lover who has done well. She looked
Over at me, said nothing. She shook her head
And there was a brief impression of a smile
Forming just on the curve of her lower lip.
I had the feeling she was laughing at me.

In a way, we were sharing a joke.
Inside, it was really funny.
Just sitting there, finishing lunch,
With the flowers watching, the hot air
Still pressing, in silence, not a sound except
The birds and bugs and the leaves
Rustling in the summer heat.

She was looking at me.
It surprised me.
For a moment
It seemed like
She wanted
To say
But the moment
Passed without
A word.

In her head, I could tell,
She had said it perfectly.

Bill Purdin: July 24, 2011