Saturday, November 22, 2008


It is about communication. When I was younger I would dream that my mouth was sewn up. I would paint this, and if not sewn, then a silent gaping scream. A throat parched and filled with sand. A dried fish shriek. Teeth crumbling to sand. No fish flash, no underwater echo, no dolphin trill or whale ache. This lack of speech is something more hot and sharp entirely.

I think about my grandmother and her angry silences, all her words fisted into her gnarled fingers. All of the things we don't speak about as a family, a little chain of boxed people and straight lines leading right back to her, our matriarch. I think about the way we have been quarantined from a family past and a family future and the only present is metered out in safe adventures of the kind the famous five might share, fanciful, polite, childish rescues from imaginary foes.

Without communication there is a removal from participation. Without communication we are laid bare. We are a dry open mouth. We are dead fish mummified. We are without a future or a past and the present is made up of the lies we tell ourselves.

I can not communicate.

We speak but it is all just flesh stretched over an empty armature. Chatter. A stray glance caught and returned says more, I think than the hours of blah blah blah.

Maybe that glance is enough for me and for my character. Maybe just knowing about the care that is shared will help me to understand him.

One moment: A held hand in a taxi. A good moment.

One other moment. We sit comfortably in silence and I know that it is fine to not speak. I glance at him. He glances back and there it is. We have shared this before on many occasions and we will share this again. We are here for each other. I can call him on the phone. There is no need to talk unless we have something to say. I know that I am loved and that is enough.

Another moment. A lying beside and a sly smile or a shrug of skin and we are grinning. The two of us. This is communicating. This is a sharing and I cling to these rare and perfect moments.

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