It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s an issue of scarcity. I have run into a shortage of words.
When the phone rings now, there’s nothing but a chirping repetition in my mind. A mimicry of the noise I should be making when I am, instead, entirely composed of silence.
My late husband would tell people that silence was my love language, and they always, always thought he was making a joke. If there’s one thing people know about me, it is that I thrive in the chatter. In a den of din, I am all petal and bloom, all unfurled leaf and sturdy stem.
But I am rooted in silences, nourished in them. Right now, I am cut down to the nub. I quarantine-cut my blossoming down to earth and now most of me is buried beyond the sight of the sun and horizon.
It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s that I can’t. It’s not that I don’t know what to say, it is that I am out of words.
All I have are thoughts that are meant for the maze of my own mind, and for that alone. Trying to collect a pinch of thoughts to share is like trying to grab a handful of the dust you can only see in the light.
I know this isn’t sustainable. Communities form around words, check-ins, love notes, and chitchat. A blossom has to whisper to a bee. A seed wants to meet the ground.
I want for this type of springtime but right now, the meadow has been cut down and the only way for me to accept this is to pretend we are in early winter. I am standing guard around my voice, letting it rest its ugly gnarled hooks deep into soil. It isn’t a threat, I want to tell people, but a root looks as much like a dragon as a petal looks like a princess, and everyone fancies themselves a hero. Everyone is on the lookout for monsters and dragons, something they can slay, something they can control. A silence is a many-headed thing, a beast even, if you are already on a hunt. Everyone is hunting. There’s a scarcity that calls for it.
It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s that I can’t. Right now, I am growing from memory alone, trying to make sure that the leaves don’t turn sour. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s that I can’t. Right now, I am growing. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you. It’s that I can’t right now.