It was Thursday evening, and they sat at the little table in the kitchen drinking beer while the spaghetti boiled and the canned sauce warmed up.
“Do you remember Goodnight Moon?”
“You didn’t read Goodnight Moon as a kid? The great green room, the cow jumping over the moon? Goodnight cow jumping over the moon, goodnight, great green room?”
“No, I did. “
“I don’t want to remember it. Don’t feel like it.”
“You sound like a little kid. You’re cute. I don’t feel like it.”
“Really. This is how it will go: goodnight sphagetti steam, goodnight, sphagetti, goodnight can with a jagged edge, goodnight stove, goodnight beer — then someone will say goodnight, you.”
“I don’t want to say goodnight you. I dont want you to say goodnight to me.”
“I don’t want somebody to say goodnight first. I just want to go to bed. I don’t want to think about it.”
“You are cute. How do you like the beer?”
There was a pause.
“You don’t get what I mean.”
“I do. You don’t want to remember. How about one of us checks the sphagetti?”
It got quiet. Neither got up.
“Who checks the sphagetti?”
Neither got up.
They laughed at themselves.
“Lazy lazy lazy.”
“And what of it?”
“Don’t you start.”
“Don’t you start.”
It got quiet again.
They looked around the kitchen. Both of them said goodnight to an object, it just happens after that conversation, they had got started; they kept being quiet, and again they looked — they had to look at something — another object, another goodnight. Goodnight clock on the stove, goodnight faucet.
The one looked over at the other. Once more, it got quiet.
“Hey, I like your face.”
“Thank you. Yours ain’t so bad yourself.”
“Look at it, your face. The nose, the mouth, even an ear.”
“An ear. Imagine that, an ear. Imagine: two of them. Listening. Twenty-four-seven. What a world.”
Joshua Hebburn‘s fiction is also recently in Hobart. He lives in L.A. and tweets infrequently @joshuahebburn.
image: Stephanie Jacobs