The conversation dangled – you know how it is sometimes when folk are forced to think up things to say to each other, when they are uncomfortable with the silence between them or when they are forced to be polite – for whatever reason. The superficial sigh also comes into play – a by-product, if you will – of the circumstances.

Paul Simon
expresses it beautifully when he sings :

And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference,
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.

Anyway, the conversation dangled. He was embarrassed that he had to back out of the relationship, and she wanted him to feel that she would be all right – even though the shock of the realization that nearly two years of togetherness had suddenly evaporated – just like that! The decision to move in together wasn’t easy for her – her parents objected vehemently, bringing up all the socio-traditional reasons, but she had held firm and had gone ahead with it.

Living together had been like a dream come true. They had it all, it seemed – a nice apartment, with all the facilities and conveniences that the newer apartment blocks in the city offered. Their social life rocked and they were a popular pair at the ‘events’ in the city. And then as time passed, little incidents seemed to get blown up out of proportion and the arguments started – little things, to begin with and then, gradually, as tempers got frayed and hurtful things were said, personal prods were utilised and things rapidly went downhill with the relationship. There remained, however, some feeling of kinship or vestige of loyalty that had to do with caring about each other – in spite of the realization that the differences of views were at such extremes. And so it went – more uncomfortable moments when they were in their private space, although in company it seemed like nothing had really changed as they played their respective roles to perfection.

The decision to part wasn’t easy for him to make – for all the reasons he had – but he figured that it would be better to go through with the moment of ultimate stress once and for all, instead of dragging it out and prolonging the agony – for them both. And surprisingly to him, she didn’t freak out and act in any of the ways he had anticipated. All those scenarios he played out in his head – her reactions, his responses – nothing even remotely similar took place. It was more a realization of the inevitable on her part, it seemed to him – which made him feel even more guilty about his decision.

And then he thought about why he should feel this sadness inside of him about it all and still care about how she felt and what she would do – and if this was what ‘love’ was all about. But then he also realized that ‘love’ shouldn’t generate the kind of tension and stress that was so much a part of their relationship. It was all too confusing for him at the moment as the thoughts raced around his head and he had to come to terms with the reality of what was happening ‘here and now’.

And so the conversation dangled, as they both reflected in the silence between them.

And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow,
I cannot feel your hand,
You’re a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation.
And the superficial sighs,
In the borders of our lives.