Nevermind how the conversation had arrived at its present location, (because it would make you blush, darling reader—believe me—this is averting awkwardness) Philip and Meg were discussing pearls and their origins.
“The amazing thing about a pearl is that it starts off as a bit of grit or sand that gets stuck in a clam’s mouth. Its mouth? Shell? Shmouth? The clam then starts working at it to cover it with something—anything— because it’s so damn irritating; the clam tries to smooth out the rough edges somehow. So really pearls are just giant phlegmy covered bits of grit.” Meg paused and thought for a second, “I’ve always thought it funny, one of the meanings of my name ‘Meghan’ is ‘pearl’. I used to have a blog called ‘Pearl, the Prickly Pear’.”
Philip smiled and said, “You, my dear, started off as an annoying bit of grit that turned into…” and here he paused to think up something especially clever, and he would have done so had Meg, stretching her arms up high (and desperately trying to work out whatever her pillow had done to her neck in the night), not said, “…a beautiful saliva ball?” Philip laughed and said, “Yes! Exactly! An annoying bit of grit that turned into a beautiful saliva ball.” (Which, if you happen to know Meg at all, you know this to be just about 83.456789% true.)
(Darling reader, right now the author must arise from their laptop to go ask a person of interest to remind them of a few details before they can proceed with this story. This is due to the fact that this started off as a spontaneous writing exercise born out of a lovely snoozy naked morning and the children miraculously staying the hell away from the author’s bedroom. Some details have grown slightly hazy and so, once this has been remedied the story will pick right back up—pinky promise. The pinky swear one, too. Let’s cover all the pinky-related covenants shall we?)
“Apparently I’m a lover of horses,” Philip continued, stressing the word ‘I’m’ more intensely than the others. “My name means ‘Lover of horses’ and that’s IT. I feel like even my name was destined for mundanity.”
“Oh no! Don’t say that! I used to draw an imaginary boyfriend when I was little, around 11 or 12, and his name was Philip Sterling. I thought the name Philip was the best. Philip replaced my first imaginary boyfriend—his name was Benjamin Moore—until I found out Benjamin Moore was the name of a paint company.” Meg patted her belly absentmindedly and scratched Philip’s back.
“I remember you telling me about that,” Philip replied smiling and hunching his shoulders with pleasure at the surprise back scratching that had broken out. He paused, “I don’t know…” and here he trailed off for a moment looking out over their front yard, “… if you research my family tree you have a bunch of people who were just sort of middle-of-the-road safe kind of people. All wonderful lovely people who weren’t remarkable or awful; they just were.”
“Well, if that isn’t what you want, then it can start with you. You can do something remarkable. Why not?” Meg beamed at him. “All it can do is kill you.”
“Why not indeed?”
And they both sipped their coffee, smiles visible in the corners of their blue eyes peeking over rims of mugs.