I was walking around a small town in Maine, and I passed a couple–a man and a woman–in their 20s, talking on the grounds of a brick-faced Customs House. It was in fact a museum, closed for the day, with a short brick walkway, a fair amount of lawn, and knee-high wrought-iron fencing.
They were . . . in the middle of something. They were talking–mostly the woman, rarely the man–in earnest, intense tones.
I passed them once, then again, and then once more. (It was a small town! There weren’t a ton of places to walk.) Each time I passed them, their bodies were arranged in a new tableau:
The woman sitting on stone steps, knees together, arms extended and crossed at the elbows; the man facing her, swinging slowly on a gate.
The two sitting next to each other on the steps, the man pressing a palm into his brow–and then the woman stepping down and kneeling in front of him.
The two sitting once more on the steps, the man crumpled against a pillar, face buried in an elbow, the woman with her spine straight, pulling at a blade of grass or perhaps the strap of her purse.