When you are young, and in love, you talk about yourself. How you like beer and hot wings, the sound of running water, taking naps outside, the treehouse you had growing up, the time your basketball team won the tournament, that your favorite books include Les Miserables and a Prayer for Owen Meany. You tell each other about the things, the food, the trips, the memories, the scars, that have made you.
When you are dating, and in love, you talk about big ideas. About politics, the problems and solutions which are ever changing the world. You play each other your favorite songs and tell each other why you love them. You aren’t talking about the songs. You talk about the problems with the NCAA and climate change. You stay up all hours of the night discussing what you believe in, the moon and stars circling above as you wonder aloud about the heavens.
When you have both agreed that you are, in fact, in love, you talk about the future. About traveling to Greece and Australia. You walk down the street and point out houses you would like to buy if you had more than ten dollars to your name. Green ones with large wooden pillars outside the front door and a porch with rocking chairs. You talk about careers and where you will hang your diploma after it’s framed. You check the forecast and talk about how you might be getting a cold and what basketball game is on tonight. You ask each other how many bedrooms that green house you walked by once has and if there would be children to fill it, and if so, how many.
When the future has arrived, and you are still in love, you talk about your day. About how work was, and whether or not you are out of milk. You talk about deductibles and humidifiers. You wonder where your child learned the phrase poopy head. You talk about how lucky you are and whose turn it is to sweep the kitchen. One of you reminds each other about the lunar eclipse tonight. You ask could you please turn the volume up on the TV as you snuggle in closer. You talk about fears and what you would like for dinner. You describe the way your kid smiles in more detail than is necessary.
You still talk about the other things too, the big ideas and the future. When you are out on dates, kids tucked safely into bed while grandparents watch them, you talk about politics and trips to Argentina, how you still need to get your diplomas framed and the books you are reading.
But you no longer talk about yourself as much. There is no need. You are known. You are loved.