Even though they stood at opposite ends of the room, they were conscious only of each other’s presence. The whole room was conscious of their presence — their united existence, the invisible, connecting thread strung between them, affecting each other’s smallest movements, slightest thoughts, with an intangible twitch. He, with his coolly unimpressed air, stood by the window, tossing off well-worn puns to the gaggle of women who made their way, consciously or unconsciously, through the crowd to congregate in that very spot. She, on the other hand, was judiciously helping the hostess hand out drinks to those members of the party gathered by the bar. She turned her back, and he straightened his; he coughed, and she twitched her nose; when either’s laugh rung out across the crowd, the other grew silent and still, as if a song had been put on mute. They did not make eye contact; they merely breathed in sync. They could hear snatches of each other’s separate conversations, and the call-and-response became apparent to even the least observant.
One of the gaggle, a particularly peckish type named Linda, broke away from the flock momentarily to forage from the snack table. She bumped into another woman scraping the sides of the potato salad bowl. Linda apologized with a giggle. “What a party! I love people watching. And this *charming* man — he’s enchanted every woman in the room.”
“Yes,” said the woman, without looking up. “That’s my husband.”