Not a Word


They were lovely. The letters, that is. Actually, more so the words themselves. Or perhaps what lived inside of those words which was truth. Those words and their precious cargo arrived at first with trepidation in short staccato sentences. Clumsy. Nervous. If they had palms they would have been sweaty.

But, over time they blossomed. Rotund in fact. Plump and full of candor; with a heartbeat and a pulse. Completely naked and sweaty everywhere as we would soon be ourselves.

Our words danced.

Our words played.

Our words fucked.

Our words wept.

Our words loved. We allowed them to work their craft.

We allowed them to make ‘us’.

We wrote with honesty, but more eagerly read the letters we received wanting nothing more than to listen and to understand the other completely. Morning took on a new meaning because it meant I would know more of you.

But as time and life would have it, and as we allowed, we abandoned writing altogether. Those letters that already existed sat in envelopes in darkened drawers on paper traversing to parchment and with fading ink.

And those that did not? Did not. We didn’t bother to write them.

Somehow the words I spoke instead had no resonance, no presence, and no weight. They fell on deaf ears. And the less you heard me the less I spoke until I became mute. The words could no longer clamor past the darkness in my throat. It was terrifying. And you, my lover and keeper of secrets, were the only one to whom I whispered this fate.

But you didn’t listen. You didn’t hear me. You didn’t want to understand.

When we parted I placed words on the back of a photograph and I wrote a letter with love and apology and tucked that in amongst your things.

Thinking, maybe… But, in return, not a word from you – a writer by trade, my best friend, the one who once upon a time bore his soul to me in letters.

Not a word.

The silence hurt more than anything those words might have carried.

And from the community that you swore had become my friends as much as your own…not a word. Not even “it was nice that our paths crossed for a time”.

Not a word.

Today I have my voice again. And the words hold more truth now than ever before but none of them are meant for you. And so, with my voice in tact but my heart hurting, I will learn to trust again – despite your silence.

Perhaps I will write you a letter about that someday.