The Silent Friendships of Men

What I enjoyed most about my conversations with John Campbell was that they hardly existed. We spoke--at the post office, at the village store, whenever he pulled over to the curb on his bike--two, three times a month. But we said very little. In the still, blank autumn afternoons like these, our silence abetted the season. One of us would open with some typically male, moderately hearty greeting; the other would follow with an observation about essentially nothing, like the lowering sky; the other would grunt or nod; John would pedal away, and that would be that.

When he died some...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!