After a busy morning of work, I stopped in town for groceries, a spot of shopping and some lunch. As usual wanted quick and easy and chose the golden arches.
I walked round to the (quite nice) cafe-y bit with my tray and a book. At the next table were an elderly couple. As I passed them to get to my table I noticed they were both sitting a little apart and not saying anything, but didn't have any food in front of them.
I ate my lunch, and read my book - stayed there for probably 20 minutes.
In that whole time, the couple did not speak to each other. They didn't have books, they didn't even have a cup of coffee, they just sat, looking around, but not at each other.
Now, it's possible that one - or both- have a hearing problem. It's possible they had just had an argument. It's possible that this is the first time they have not engaged in conversation in a long time. It might even be that they truly enjoy companionable silence.
But what struck me was that, maybe, maybe it wasn't. And (stretching the truth and probably reality for the purpose of a good yarn here...), what if this is what their life is now? Being together, but not ever talking. In fact, possibly being together but having run out of conversation.
Maybe it's the full moon, or maybe it was low blood sugar...but it made me feel quite sad. How awful, that one could get to the end of life, having spent it with the person who made you happiest - or at least that made you feel the best you could be - when you met them, and now have literally nothing to say to each other.
I always feel a bit 'thingie' when I see elderly couples helping each other across the road, or holding hands in a park, or doing the groceries together.
I heard a Henry Cloud talk yesterday about marriage and intimacy. He reckons the biggest aphrodisiac is time spent talking and listening to each other.
I think he's right. Perish the thought that I (in the event of growing old with someone) will reach a point of not having anything to talk about with my spouse. Then, it really is done and dusted.
I think I'll try and take a positive spin on it...maybe that old couple are so completely happy and content with each other, they can spend hours together without the need for words. Sound better?