Along the Automatic Path
They met. At school. At work. At a bar. Through a mutual friend. Through a relative, a coworker.
They dated. Went to places without knowing the reason why. Dinners and movie. Dancing.
They made love. They screwed. They fucked. They tried a variety of positions not knowing why they tried them. Positions they’d seen in movies. Positions someone else had told them about, positions they had read about, maybe in Cosmopolitan or maybe in Hustler.
They got married. They had a wedding. They bought an expensive wedding gown for her not knowin why that was so important. They ordered a wedding cake without knowing the reason for so many layers and tiers. Why did they have to get married in a church? Why did they have to do it in front of God? Did they believe in God, and if so why? And was a wedding away from a church not the same? Why was there a reception afterwards, with a catered dinner and assigned seating? Why did their have to be some sort of order for the rest of their lives?
They never thought to ask.
They bought a house. He got a job. A better job. He started doing sales. Wore a shirt and a tie not knowing the reason why a piece of cloth hanging from a man’s neck was necessary. He never even thought about it, never considered that maybe the piece of cloth hanging from his neck was some kind of chain. She got pregnant, not once but twice. They bought a bigger house. The kids grew; they enrolled them in school and signed them up for everything. They thought it was important, to have well-rounded and exhausted children. There were sports and music lessons. Sunday school. The kids never had much free time and were happiest when at home with the television constantly on even though it went largely unwatched and unnoticed. And that was another question they never asked themselves; why did the TV have to come on the minute someone came home? As if the silence was too uncomfortable to remain unbroken.
Their kids grew up. Left the house.
They stopped screwing, they stopped making love.
Eventually, they stopped talking.