You hear tidbits. Complaints. Gripes. Barbs. And you sit up. Listen more intently. But then there is a long and laborious silence, the white picket fence of sweet stasis, in which nothing - nothing - is said and real life resumes with its clinking glasses and faux smiles and forward motion.
But there are detectable cracks. And through them, unhappiness seeps toward you and slaps you in the face. And you say it to yourself (never aloud, never): My friend is not happily committed. And the moment you say it or think it - however silently - you chide yourself for jumping. To judgment. To conclusions. For no union is perfect. None.
But you know. You know better. You know that beyond that glittering colorless fence and that perfectly-groomed lawn, there is struggle. And you care. Because it is your friend. And this friend needs you more than you know. There is a story to tell. There is an acrid abundance of question marks. There are tears, lurking behind tired and disciplined eyes, waiting to fall.
But. You are a coward. Or a civilized creature. You say nothing. You nod. You proffer sympathetic smiles. At that gleaming white fence, that fence that keeps everything bad out - and in -- you say goodbye, trading wispy air kisses, and go on your merry way.
What do you do when you know your friend is having relationship troubles and she/he will not open up? Do you pry? Do you wait behind that mystical white fence? Do you agree that once people are committed or married they are much less apt to talk about the integrity of their relationships? Why is this?