Arguing friends

This is by Rose (AKA cynical innocent) on alt.callahans. Thanks, Rose.

I’m very worried about two of my friends, Wilbur and Sarah. They used to be one of the cutest couples I know; they did all the adorable stuff that cute couples do, giving each other sappy nicknames and doing everything together, never a cross word. But ever since Wilbur started taking Spanish lessons, things have been really tense between them, and I don’t really know how to defuse it.

It’s the first thing he’s done on his own since they got together. Sarah doesn’t care much about languages, and has no interest in learning another one–in fact, she thinks it’s pretentious to go around speaking anything other than good ol’ English. (Obviously she and I don’t see eye-to-eye on this, but it hadn’t really come up before now; part of the problem here is that I’m having trouble seeing her side of things, which doesn’t make me a very effective mediator.) But it wouldn’t be so bad if Wilbur weren’t such a natural. After about three months of lessons, he was starting to think in Spanish, and if she interrupted him while he was doing his homework, it would take him a moment to switch gears, and he’d either answer in Spanish or have to ask her to repeat what she’d said. Then she’d get upset at him for ignoring her or saying things she didn’t understand, and they’d fight. I was very startled the first time I saw this, and apparently it’s been going on for a while now, from what Wilbur was telling me.

I can’t really put my finger on why this bothers me so much. I guess it’s just that I’ve never seen her be so dismissive of something that’s obviously important to him. I mean, they still use the cutesy nicknames and all, but it feels like it’s pretty hollow and sometimes even sardonic, mocking the closeness they used to have. The last time I was over there, the tension was palpable. Sarah was obviously avoiding Wilbur while he was working, but at one point she came over to ask him something, and it just didn’t get through because he was so absorbed in his work. And when he looked up and blinked and said “Que, Sarah-Sarah?” she just snarled “Whatever, Wilby-Wilby”.


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