When he awoke, it was because a tear had fallen onto his arm. He stared
into the darkness for a moment, wondering, tangled in his dreams. Then he heard
a muffled sound; she was crying very softly.
He had never heard her cry before. She was always laughing. He could
not think of her without also thinking of her laugh, like bells. She even laughed
when they made love, which had disturbed him at first. But he had since grown
used to it, and now they often laughed together, in the warm darkness of his bed.
And now she was crying. He wanted to say something, to comfort her, but
was too fascinated with watching her. She was not one of those girls who are
pretty when they cry. Her face was puffy, and she looked very fragile, and very,
"Whatís the matter?" He had wanted to be witty, or at least original, but it
was late and he was not yet fully awake.
"They were doing it again today. Sitting in that damned room and not
saying a word."
He was surprised at the venom in her voice. It occurred to him that he had
never heard her say Ďdamní before.
"They just sit there," she said again, "not talking. Until I come in. Then
they talk. They always talk then."
She laughed, but it was bitter laughter, and she choked on it. He didnít
understand, and told her so. She looked at him as if he had said something
"They donít need to talk, because theyíre friends. Their silence talks for
them. Once they didnít need to talk to me, either. But my silence doesnít talk to
theirs anymore - it only watches. It makes them uncomfortable. So they talk, or
leave and go to another room, where they can sit, and not talk, and be friends."
Her words were no longer angry and bitter. They were heavy, sad words
which hung in the air around her, making it difficult for him to see the outline of
her face distinctly.
"I never knew there was so much sadness in you."
"Of course." she replied with some surprise. "Why else would I laugh so
He didnít answer, and they lay very close together, in the silence.