“So,” he said to his wife, both of them lying there listening to the background sound that was distant traffic or maybe a train coming faraway, hearing the closer intermittent birds’ chirp and a breeze every once in a while sieving down through the branches of the Douglas fir.
“So we were taking a logic class together,” he said, “and I was behind and trying to catch up but you weren’t too helpful.”
“Wasn’t I?” his wife had just woken. They had woken together.
“No, I was trying to find out what the assignment was and you kept giving me an answer like you had prayed a lot, seeking inspiration, and you had gone in to see the teacher for some personal help so it all seemed pretty clear to you. But all I wanted was the assignment and the page numbers.”
“That sounds . . . hmm . . . like your version of us,” her voice was raspy.
“It was a class on symbolic logic,” he said.
“What’s symbolic logic?” she asked.
“If A then B. For all A and B, there exists B such that. Statements like that, things you can prove or not prove.”
“Okay,” she closed her eyes, maybe she was going back to sleep.
“But all I wanted was to know the page we were on. And then I saw you weren’t even reading your book front to back like I was. You were starting in the middle somewhere and reading every which way.”
“I don’t think you think too highly of my kind of logic,” her voice was coming in more limber even though her eyes were closed.
“Well, I wasn’t entirely standard myself. I would eat the pages as I read them.”
“So I knew when I had finished a chapter. They didn’t taste very good. And then I looked at your book to see if I could figure out where we were. And I saw we didn’t even have the same book. We had entirely different books.”
“This sounds too familiar,” his wife groaned, laughing, pushing her hair back off her forehead.
“And there was this sense, not that I said it out loud, but that we were going to be doing this twenty years from now. In twenty years we would still be doing this. But beside me you were thinking, Not me. I’ll be moving on. I’ll be moving forward. I’ll be done with this class.”
The man chuckled. It was a sad, sweet sound. “And in my dream there was this sense that, no, we were going to be doing this whatever we moved onto twenty years from now, whatever class we were in next, because we would still be together trying to figure it out, because we would still be married.”
“Guess we’ll never get it figured out,” she said.
“Good think we’re in it for the long haul,” he said.