"So I was catching up with a high school friend, Jackie, and she asked me about you. I gave her the same patent response that I give to everyone. 'I don't know what's going on. I don't know where we're headed. I'm taking things one day at a time.'"
"I did tell her that I'm impossible, and you're patient enough to handle me. But that sometimes you're so laid back that I want to throttle you."
"That feeling can be mutual."
I made a face. "I also told her that it's like two jagged rocks that have been rubbing up against each other for five years. The surfaces seem to be getting smoother."
"It's like you're an old shirt."
I was not at all offended by this analogy, but I decided to give him a hard time anyway. "An old shirt, huh?" I asked mischievously, "Soft and shapeless? Like, cotton? Am I getting those spots that are so thin you can almost see through the shirt? Like one more washing and you're going to have to throw the old shirt away?"
"C'mon. You know I wear shirts with holes in them."
"Nice." I was openly laughing at this point.
"Actually, that's not a good analogy..."
We were watching some episodes of 'Friends' while having this conversation on the couch with popcorn. For a few minutes there was silence while I concentrated on the popcorn and he gazed at the TV. Then I remembered that his sentence had trailed off and wanted to know the rest of the thought.
"So what am I like?"
More silence while he gazed at the TV. I was again distracted by the popcorn, though this time I was seeing how many pieces Casey could catch mid-air.
"Seriously....are you ever going to answer me? Don't you think things are getting easier?"
He made a little impatient noise that I have come to recognize as meaning 'Woman! You are not giving me time to THINK!' but since patience is hardly a virtue of mine, I pressed on.
Frustrated and eyes averted he said, "It is getting easier.... I just can't think of the right analogy.... It's like you're something that I can't live without."
His response took my breath away. And all of a sudden I realized that he hadn't been watching TV at all...he had been trying to figure out what to say and working up the courage to say it. (And that I had thought the discussion was MUCH more lighthearted than it was.) For a moment I was completely speechless.
"Air? I'm like air?"
"I don't know. But I kind of miss you when you're gone."
Still trying to catch my breath, I started to smile. When he finally looked at me, he started to smile as well. "Now why don't you say nice things like that more often?"
"They mean more this way."