A Gordian Knot

A quarreling young couple is sitting next to me at a large communal table in a coffee shop. They are arguing, from the sound of it, about their expenses and plans for the near future. From the corner of my eye, I can see them peering into the screen of a laptop, desperately trying to fit their limited resources onto whatever it is they have on their wish list. He wants to buy a car and doubts his boss will give him a week off in October. She has been planning a trip together for ages and gets frustrated by the fact that he always prioritizes other stuff. I just need this, she says bitterly.

I look up from my laptop for the first time and see how she is hugging her upper right arm with her left hand and is averting her face from him. He is still staring at the laptop. Although it appears like he is trying to solve this Gordian knot of theirs, like her, his mind is somewhere else.

I understand their problem. Or rather, I should say: I recognize their situation. She wants to work on growing their relationship, and he is trying to secure a shared future. For a happy life together, both are needed, of course. But they do not have that insight. Not yet. Will they make it as a couple? I do not know? At their age, I, unfortunately, was not that wise.