What men want

I don’t know anything about the two men who were just sitting next to me at this Starbucks. They came in together, put their jackets down at the table next to me, got coffee and a snack, and sat down. They were strangers to me. What caught my attention about them was that they seemed to be strangers to each other.

Their interaction felt like a first date. A first date between two 15 year olds. There were long moments of what really seemed to be awkward silence. Then, one would comment on the high turnover at the Starbucks. The other wouldn’t hear him, so would ask him to repeat it. Then say, ah.” And them more silence. They sat here for maybe 15 minutes before leaving.

Like I said I really don’t know anything about these guys. However, it seemed to me like they were both hungry for something, something that they didn’t know how to get: connection. My heart broke for them. They were standing outside of their comfort (at least, that’s how it felt), but decades of conditioning kept them apart. I wanted for them to feel each other. To feel themselves in the interaction. To be together in a way that the silence could carry meaning, not unmet longing.

It’s a story, I get that. And yet…it’s the silent curse of men. To be an island among islands, without recognizing that the water connects us. It doesn’t separate us.

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