One thing I find difficult to show when I’m writing is the power of body language. A written scene full of description generally isn’t one of action, yet sometimes there’s a lot of action, or a lot of information passed on, without a single word being spoken. I went to a marriage equality rally a while ago and observed this silent exchange. The words are mine, deduced solely from the body language. I think it shows how important body language is in communication, and also how important it is to try to show it in writing.
Scene: in a park amongst a building crowd, getting ready for the rally.
A: Pulls out two rainbow t-shirts from small bag, hands bag to B. “Hold this while I change?”
B: Takes bag and one of the t-shirts. Lifts collar to check size. “Are you sure you have yours?”
A: Raises eyebrows at B. “Of course this is mine. I checked.” A pulls shirt off over head and hands it to B. “Here, hold this while I put the other one on.”
B: Takes shirt and looks at A. “Are you sure you need to change?” Rubs hand down his own chest. “Do I need to as well or can I put my shirt over this one?”
A: Shakes his head. “You know they fit too well to look good over another shirt.” Tugs new t-shirt into place then reaches out for his original one. “I’ll just fold this then you can change too.” Folds t-shirt, places it in bag. Takes bag back from B.
B: Takes shirt off and hands to A. Puts new shirt on then reaches for original t-shirt. A hands him the bag instead.
A: “I’ll just fold this to go in the bag.”
B: Reaches for shirt. “I can do it.”
A: Holds shirt out of reach as he folds it. “You know you can’t fold worth a damn. I’m nearly done.” Takes bag and puts folded shirt into it.
B: Rubs A on shoulder blade. “Thanks, babe.”
A: Smiles up at B then slides gaze down his chest. “Damn you look hot in that shirt.”
They grin at each other then turn to the friends waiting nearby and begin a verbal conversation with them.
E E Montgomery
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