Across the high table they are avoiding eye contact. Eric looks up, Karen looks away; Karen glances over, Eric is examining his knife for water spots.
He coughs slightly.
“Oh!” says Karen. “I mean, yes?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Oh. I thought you did.”
And the silence comes down again. They aren’t eating, of course. They haven’t eaten in years, but the habit lives on. Karen reaches for her fork forlornly and it shakes and clanks against her empty wine glass. The noise is pure and clean and Eric looks up, shaken.
“My god! Try to maintain some sense of decorum, can’t you?”
Karen is so miserable she disappears into the wine glass. Eric turns his eyes away from her shame.