He was never someone who willing shared his feelings. He’d just hold it all inside, dropping vague hints about things that were bothering him, but never saying exactly what the problem was.
It started as a joke. During a particular frustrating lull in daily conversations – he denied any passive-aggressive silent treatment – I told him for he umpteenth time that I wasn’t a mind reader, and that he needed to talk to me.
Fishing around in my pockets, I found a penny. I picked it up earlier in the driveway, tucking it away for luck.
“Here,” I said, flipping him the copper coin. “A penny for your thoughts.”
He caught it one-handed, still not saying a word, then turned to leave me alone in the kitchen.
I had gotten gun-shy around him. Wincing every time I heard a sigh or saw a look of aggravation on his face, I just wanted to shake the words out of him.
The first time it happened, I thought it was just me. That I had imagined it all because of how deeply I wanted him to talk to me.
He dropped an empty glass into the kitchen sink after rinsing it out. Standing at the counter, his hands on his hips, I waited for him to say something. His lips never moved, but I heard his complaint.
“Looks like she’s not going to load the washer tonight, again.”
After that, every time it seemed like he was upset or holding back, I could “hear” his thoughts in my head. It was enlightening, but it changed how I felt about him.
He had a tendency to think the worst, expect the least, and didn’t accept any blame for anything. He was also keeping a lot of unsavory secrets. No wonder he didn’t want to share.
That day was I was doing laundry, I went through the hamper, and found his work pants. Out of habit, I went through the pockets and found that old penny.
Holding it in my open palm, I wondered if it would have the same effect on him, as it did me – allowing him to “hear” my hidden thoughts. I put it on the kitchen counter so it wasn’t in my physical possession.
Once I finished my work, I sat down in the living room with the penny, and thought about our life together, all the good and bad, and all I had learned since his private thoughts hadn’t been so private.
I thought about the things I could have done differently, about what went wrong in our relationship and my part in it. Then, I thought of what I wanted in my future, and most importantly, what I didn’t.
When he came home from work, I was waiting in the driveway. Walking up to me, I could see that he was distraught.
“We really need to talk,” he said.
I wanted to laugh, or slap him.
“I have no words,” and with that I got into my car and drove away, leaving him speechless, and a pile of pennies on the kitchen counter.