This morning, he wrote:
“I was just giving you room to…”
Yes, I’m often in the mood to dot-dot-dot. So…
I often wonder about silence: the way it sits on other people.
I personally wear it like the lavender-colored pashmina of cashmere and silk that I keep in the backseat of my car, at all times. Sometimes, I loop it around my arm while walking. Too warm for it right now, I think; but then, you never know: I might need it later. Other times, I show up all wrapped in it, and I walk by my lover’s side peaceful, perfectly sufficient, but separate. It’s my second skin: within his reach — for whatever exploratory touch he may have the habit for — but then again, it’s a barrier. A nature’s boundary. It makes up — me. It contains me: My silence. And no matter the power of empathy, no matter the reach of compassion, there is no way I would give it up, for good.
There are times when I let my companions wrap themselves in the other side of my silence, but only if they have the capacity to share my step and to adopt my pace, for a while. Most of the time, it is best shared with those that have seen me grow up. Sure, many loves have seen me change, learn, transform (because once I make up my mind to be with them — I go all in). But only the selected few — the sacred handful — have kept tabs on me for years. Many such silent walks we have shared by now, all so specifically perfect because they haven’t demanded a description. And the accumulation of these shared silences — is what makes up our intimacy.
I watch some get unnerved by my comfortable tendency for silence; and when I tell them I was born as decidedly the only child my parents planned to have, they say:
“Oh, but of course! Your silence makes total sense!”
I prefer to refrain from saying:
“But what do you mean?!”
Instead, I let them cradle their opinions, projecting their discomfort and their sadly absurd need to be right. Because a “What do you mean?!” always leaves an aftertaste of despair in my mouth. (And I am never really too desperate to name everything by its title; even it that title seems to be most truthful in the moment but only turns out to be best deserved, in the end. So, I would rather stick to metaphors. Or, I would rather leave it — to silence; leave it — in the mood to dot-dot-dot.)
But it does mesmerize me to watch others, in their silence. Most of the time, they aren’t my beloveds, but utter strangers incapable of handling solitude at all. I study their fiddling away with their radios for the best-suited background track. They click away at the buttons of their phones — their mobilized egos that promise to grant them a life — for some distracting stories in which they can tangle themselves up; as I tangle myself up — in silence. So discombobulated they are with their aloneness, so unsettled by the sudden lack of diversions from the truth, they reach, they grapple, they grasp.
There are others, much lovelier in my eyes; and in their silence, they are still curious. Surely, they must be loved, by someone, I always assume. They must be waited for, by others, at home. But in the moment of their solitude, they seem to possess the talent for temporary surrender. They sit in silence with an open mind, a ready fascination; as if the most unexpected gives them the biggest thrill. And it does make me wonder if their esteem — this comfortable wearing of their skin — comes from being so loved; comes from being waited for.
Because having a home to come back to — gives them a firmer ground to stand on. Because homecoming is always a deserving point of reference.
And then, there are the very few that dwell in silence permanently. It may not be because they are best equipped to deal with life’s ambiguity. But in the acceptance of their solitude, I find a grace so powerful, so contagious, it makes me want to interrupt it and say:
“But how do you do that?”
And I used to think that such ability for being had to have come from a healthy life and a kind past; from parents that wait for their children at Christmas with their favorite meals, loving anecdotes, and with boardgames in front of going fireplaces; with their childhood bedrooms still intact and photographs lining up into chronologies of their lives on hallway walls.
But not until I myself have learned to wear my silence without any secret desire to surrender it have I realized that it also sometimes comes from having lost too much to want to hold onto it. Because it gets too heavy, with time: all that loss and all that seeming injustice. So, I have learned let go of it, so I would never bring it into my new loves (because how can a love not fail with all that baggage in tow?).
Instead, these days, I wrap myself in silence as if it were the lavender-colored pashmina of cashmere and silk that I keep in the backseat of my car — within my reach — at all times. And I walk — alone.
And if ever walking with another love wrapped in the other side of it, through the shared silence, I tell him:
“I was just giving you room to…”