I’ve kept a list, you know, he said, taking back his arms. 

That’s wonderful, honey.

Aren’t you going to ask what kind of list?

I figured you’d have told me if you wanted me to know. When you didn’t, I just assumed it was none of my business. Do you want me to ask you?

Ask me.

OK. What kind of list have you been keeping so secretly?

I’ve kept a list of the number of conversations we’ve had since we’ve been married. Would you like to guess how many?

Is this really necessary? 

We’ve only had six conversations, Brod. Six in almost three years. 

Are you counting this one?

You never take me seriously. Of course I do.

No, you always joke, or cut our talking short before we ever say anything.

I’m sorry if I do that. I never noticed. But do we really need to do this right now? We talk all the time.

I don’t mean talking Brod. I mean conversing. Things that last more than five minutes. 

Let me get this straight. You’re not talking about talking? You want us to converse about conversing? Is that right?

We’ve had six conversation. It’s pathetic, I know, but I’ve counted them. Otherwise it’s all worthless words. We talk about cucumbers and how I like pickles more. We talk about how I blush when I hear that word. We talk about grieving Shanda and Pinchas, about how bruises sometimes don’t show up for a day or two. Talk talk talk. We talk about nothing. Cucumbers, butterflies, bruises. It’s nothing.

What’s something, then? You want to talk about war a bit? Maybe we could talk about literature. Just tell me what something is, and we’ll talk about it. God? We could talk about Him.

You’re doing it again.

What am I doing?

You’re not taking me seriously. 

It’s a privilege you have to earn.

I’m trying.

Try a bit harder, she said, and unbuttoned his slacks. She licked him from the base of his neck to his chin, pulled his shirt from his pants, his pants from his waist, and nipped their seventh conversation in the bud.

Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer, pp. 124-5


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