Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

My Husband and I Share an Audience of One

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

My Husband and I Share an Audience of One

Article excerpt

Retired now, Ken and I spend the bulk of our days happily at home. He studies Spanish and practices woodworking upstairs; I cozy in one floor below with my journal, word processor, and clarinet close at hand.

In our career years, we interrupted each other's work days via telephone for momentous bulletins only. But these days, we traipse up and down the steps to inform each other of such minor events as the arrival of a long-forgotten rebate check, or the discovery that our computer can send faxes.

Come midafternoon, I'll apprise Ken of what's for dinner; in turn, he'll treat me to an occasional "C'mere, you've got to see this!" - a sharp-shinned hawk perched in our maple tree, or the cat's latest coy antic.

Despite such interludes, our retirement lifestyle affords us plenty of solitude, which is why we make a point of spending evenings together, talking about everything and nothing. And that's when I'll catch Ken mumbling to himself: making mental notes, reviewing his to-do list half-aloud.

"Mem tawka fret abow neksweak," he said one recent evening after dinner, loading the dishwasher as I dispatched leftovers.

"Whose neck squeaked?" I asked.

He started from his reverie: "Pardon?"

"Were you speaking to me?"

"When?"

"Just now."

"Uh, I don't know. What did I say?"

"I couldn't tell. That's why I'm asking."

"Oh!" he exclaimed after a pause. "I was just thinking out loud that I should call Fred about that meeting next week."

As his brow refurrowed, I realized that once again I'd unwittingly derailed his semiprivate train of thought by presuming that he was speaking to me.

But he doesn't complain about my intrusions. Nor does his muttering bother me. When I'm in my spouse's company I, too, like to voice whatever's on my mind. Unlike Ken, however, I do so loudly and clearly, determined to be heard.

In fact, he likens my monologues to the ticker-tape stock-market report that runs nonstop across the bottom of that cable-news TV station. …

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