Will the explorer and writer had a hobby, which was to eavesdrop, mostly in pubs, because to him the pub was the theatre of the absurd, the house of the unexpected. But wherever he laid his notebook, eavesdropping, he found, gave him the germs of stories. Recently, he was in London for a rehearsed reading of his play, but chose for some reason to stay in Surbiton. Therein he caught two little germs, one that made him laugh…
At breakfast, Will sat with his cornflakes and a middle-aged couple of the blue collar kind. The man wanted his bacon done crispy, and as he crunched and chatted with his wife he suddenly paused and held aloft a tooth.
“Look at that!” he said.
“Oh you poor thing!” she exclaimed, “Where did that come from, your mouth?”
“No,” he said with a laugh, “my arse.”
And one that made him cry…
After the reading, Will went to The Antelope for a bite to eat and chose a table contiguous to a middle-aged couple of the white collar kind. The woman had requested something light because she wasn’t so hungry, and while they ate she talked about what to do with the house – sell or rent out and keep as an investment, either of which would sadden her. Between bites and with the utmost care, the man chipped in his views. Moved and touched by his understanding, the woman began to weep, and while he gave her reiki she looked into his eyes and said, “You do know I’m crying for my children not my ex-husband?”
“I do,” he said, “but a death is a death and I know that once upon a time you loved him.”
When the couple had gone, Will transcribed these memories to his notebook and considered that while one made him laugh and the other made him cry, they had one fundamental thing in common: the language of love between a man and a woman.