Some words will never be heard, but it doesn’t mean that they will go unsaid.
It is in the speaking of the word, not the hearing, that the word comes alive.
For behind each syllable is a spark of a thought, sprung from the loins of a concept coupled with emotion.
And if even that word goes unspoken or unheard, its origin is not invalidated.
Too long have I knowingly bound and restrained my mouth, my tongue, my heart.
Words were meant to be heard, and these are mine.
These are the things I wanted to tell, but didn’t. These are the words that I now write for pen and paper’s affirmation. These feelings need to come out, be shared, understood and--hopefully --mutually felt.
I didn’t love you at first. I didn’t even like you. You were sweetly blunt and unafraid while I, diplomatic and cautious, kept my distance.
We sped through the seasons; as the wind chilled, my heart began to warm. Winter became thawed-out spring when premature nicknames gave a sweet and unearned closeness. Spring blossomed into summer that day in July when I looked at you and saw fireworks fly.
Together we would walk and we would drive. You saw me stop at yellow lights and remarked I was too cautious. I smiled at my true intent and thanked the stoplight for every extra second.
While my body was mute, my heart and soul screamed incessantly on the inside. Sharing thoughts and emotions that were begging to be released.
You told me you were not ready for love, not ready for the words that longed to leap from my mouth.
“I must protect you from myself and barricade my heart in. Build a stony castle and set my face to the closing of the bolts.”
I dread being heard because I dread being seen.
“You must not know, you cannot see how very, very much you mean to me. Because if you see and fail to understand, if you see and do not agree, if my emotions cause you to flee, then I will be alone and even worse, alone again.”
So I did not write; I did not speak. Grabbed my words by the neck and stuffed them inside, so far down and so far deep that they were never heard and so, would not speak. But words are not slaves to characters and ink. And in this dark dungeon, love festered, biding time and gaining strength.
Our laughter grew louder. The walks and the talks grew deeper and longer. You told me that I was one of the best conversationalists you know. And yet the funny thing is, you were the one who did a majority of the talking. I listened, but I did not speak.
Helen of Troy, how close you came to seeing your rescuers in their equestrian cage! Separated only by a barrier of opaque words that merely refracted your gaze. Menelaus longed for your sweet embrace, but the horse’s bowels remained shut and the warrior’s eyes, glazed.
But I was not the only one whose speech was struggling. While my mouth could not open, your words belied a painful duality—one of longing desire and another of contented distance. Which to believe? Which words were meant to be heard and which were meant to deceive? Was it all a lie, a sick game or a cruel joke? You spoke in a language all wrong. Syntax and structure all out of line. Using letters and words from different tongues and different times. You spoke, but I couldn’t hear; and therefore, couldn’t understand; and so, couldn’t respond.
We two made a clumsy pair, tripping and entangling our steps in this awkward high school dance.
But oh, how I believed the guitars’ heartstrings sang our passionate anthem!
Then that day came when I was away.
Your text read, “Wish you were here,” but my heart received a much longer message. Two days later, you would finally see fireworks as well.
Your silence is too loud. Please. Turn down the volume!
When your words finally came, they spoke only of your “amore” and every word sent another needle into my spine, probing around until it found my core.
It hurt to know that you called another your “Darling”. It hurt even more to know that you were gone. I couldn’t ask my best friend what to do with these feelings, because she was the crux of the problem. You could neither fight my pain for me or alongside me, for you were my pain.
The tension became too great and my anger began to leak--out my soul’s windows and onto my cheeks. Soon the leak widened and my self-restraint was breached. I began to speak, but now these were ugly words. Words laced with venom, arsenic and acid. Words meant to torture, to murder, to tear down, to avenge and right this great hole in my soul.
But they were just words. Words that were not to be heard. By you or by anyone. Filling up the gas chamber and linger in concrete walls. Words for myself and my self all alone.
“How dare you?” I cried. “What right had you to fill and then leave empty? To build to climax and leave before the peak? To take a once crystal clear connection and sever the line?” Wishing I could do it over, wishing I hadn’t misread all those signs.
It was there where my words were unfettered. In safety, in solitude, in an enraged hermitage. My words to be unheard by anyone but me, because I am the only one I can trust to understand them. In a place where only I know, where only I see. Where my words cannot hurt, or damage, or affect anyone but me. In an empty parking lot. Without her next to me.
And then when all was spent, all I could wish for was your hand in mine. But I was out of opportunities, ran all out of time.
But let me be clear; I am not the hero, nor are you the villain.
My tongue and mouth played witless henchmen in a plot of chilled terror and razor-edged tension.
When isolation’s laugh rang loud, fear’s icy fingers choked free will’s breath.
Clutching at heart and mind, restraining both till they were paralyzed to death.
Now is the time that my mouth is the intrepid kind of daring, when words come fast and come free, where icy fear has been soundly defeated by warm security.
And though you may never know, though you still may never see, my words are here. Now they and I are free, breathing in a bittersweet air, but basking in the release.
And so these are the words that I say,
To be heard,
Too little, too long, too late.