A story of talk
She began to notice the existence of something like
a script in conversations
January 3, 2003
When she was five, talking was the best thing there was. There
were times at school and at home when she would stand and listen
conversation, from her teacher or the other kids or her mother
and father, and she would know something was happening. And
then there were times when she was the one talking, telling somebody
something, and that was great. She did not talk a lot at
school but she was glad when she had a chance to do it. And
it was great to see her mother after school and tell her about
everything that had happened.
When she was nine, she still listened
closely and she was was still discovering all that there was
to do with talking. It
was really something. It was wonderful, with her friends
at school. It was great to be part of the conversation
at home, such as when her father would become upset about something
in the newspaper and she or her older sister would ask him about
it and he would explain.
When she was twelve, there
were so many exciting things to talk about with her friends.
There was a lot that was very funny too. Sometimes she
would feel like being quiet though.
When she was fifteen, she began
to see that there was some talking that really seemed to matter
a lot in the world. It had
to do with who you were talking to, most of the time. She
felt it when she talked with her best friend and sometimes with
her sister. And she felt how she was someone who liked
to talk about real and serious things. It was true with
her friends, the way that she was the one they would talk to
about their problems because she was very interested. It
was true in school too, the way that she liked to talk about
the ideas in the books they read.
It was about the same time that
she began to notice the existence of something like a script
in conversations. She heard
it among adults but it was sometimes there in kids of her age. She
did not understand it sometimes.
When she was eighteen, she left
for college and it seemed like a good place for the kind of talking
she liked. There was so much to laugh about
too. There were times when she heard the script but there
were people whom she could joke about it with, and that was nice.
she was twenty-one, she looked forward to being through with
college and seeing what it was like in the world. She
had become tired of the kind of talking that occurred in her
was not as fun to joke about things as it had been
Along the way there had been love, and that had had a
kind of talking and a kind of listening that she had liked very
When she was twenty-four, she worked behind the bar at a
billiard hall in the city. She worked the day shift and
she liked it because it was quiet and she did not have to talk
very much. She
could play the jukebox and read. It was mostly the regular
day players whom she knew or businessmen coming in at their lunch
One day in the summer a young
man came down the street towards the billiard hall. It
was two-thirty in the afternoon and he was drunk without a care
in the world. He went in and went up the stairs to the
bar and asked for a beer. When she brought it to him, he
said, "What is your dream?"
She looked at him and she
knew that he was drunk. He looked
like he was a few years younger than she was. She did not
think that he was trying to pull her leg but he was drunk.
"My dream is that I wouldn't have to work tomorrow and
I could sleep."
The young man looked at her and nodded seriously. "I
hope it comes true," he said.
He drank the bee, paid
and said goodbye. The young
woman waved goodbye.
After work she began to walk to the bus stop
but she did not feel like being on the bus and she hailed a cab
got in and, in the back seat, she began to cry. She
cried and felt embarrassed to have the driver see her cry. He
noticed her and began to look for the things that could
console girls who cried in the back seat of his cab. He
was very tired but he had done it at other times and knew that
it was a matter of finding it.
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