He grunted when he drank too much, randomly at awkward moments. She knew this and always coughed coincidentally at the same time. She was always on cue. She did this to keep the peace and relieve the tension of that uncanny feeling you get when someone grunts deep. She knew the gestures he’d twitch before executing a grunt and sometimes coughed ahead of time to cover it altogether. She knew him well. That little neck cracking sound was one sign of that tormenting grunt to come. He sometimes scratched his knee robotically, and again, in tune, that hypnotizing grunt covered, uncovered because no cough in the world, real or not, can cover a grunt so haunting as his. She was just as obsessed with the grunt as I was, but she was so used to the taunting tunes that played automatically, she had no idea. That kind of stuff stays with you.
Archives: Spring 2010.