10: February 2016 #05 - The Words You
Authored by Daniel Crist
The Words You Never Heard
by Daniel Crist
When I got your text message that day, I laughed stupidly at my phone. My fingers leapt forth to the on-screen keyboard -- autonomous appendages tapped along with precision and speed under the control of their own mind. I looked at the words they had chosen and was shocked with what I saw, so I deleted that message and sent the version that you’re familiar with. That was the first time I told you the words that you've never heard from me. It was unintentional. I didn’t know if I fully meant it then, or if momentarily I just got lost between a dream and a projection. But I felt it, even if it was just a fleeting illusion, alluding to what was to come. The words were there, you just never read them. Every single time you've gotten a text message from me with the words "you're amazing," it means I got halfway through typing different words, but my anxieties got the best of me before the original message made it out the door. The words were there, but they got lost on the editing room floor. The second time I told you was weeks later, after the surprise date I planned for you. A hug had spontaneously transformed into slow-dancing on top of one the giant boulders in Central Park. We danced to the symphony of city traffic -- sounds shaped into melody by our playful affection. After I dipped you and ended our dance with a kiss, I told you. The words were there, but two joggers came along and carried them away with heavy footsteps. The first morning that I ever woke up next to you, I told you. I traced my fingers around the curves of your body. The morning light surrounded your figure with a glowing halo, illuminating the path drawn by my hand. I stared into your eyes and smiled -- icy pools of dark blue never felt so warm. The words were there, but they fell adrift amongst our euphoric giggling. Tonight when I read your email I told you. I shouted it out loudly enough for the whole world to hear. The words were there, but they got muffled behind the walls of apprehension in my chest. No one has heard these words from me in years, not in this context at least. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever say them again with the same weight. But here I am, having told you these words dozens of times without you ever hearing them. This morning you were standing in the doorway, holding bags that contained the last few things you had left at my place. Maybe you were waiting to hear the words I've been saying. If you had just looked closely into my eyes you would have heard them. You would have been startled by their volume. You would have rushed towards my lips to greet them. But you couldn't hear them, and you turned away. The words were there, but they got tangled in the hesitation of my tongue. The words were there, but they got lost between the hateful ones we spewed at each other. The words were there, but they were silenced by the door slamming behind you. Now I'm resting my cell-phone against my head, listening to you speak, your voice now calm, sweet and soothing again. I finally say the words you never heard, I say them aloud into my phone. The response on the other end is flat and cold -- a recording prompting me to erase or save the voice-mail I had listened to dozens of times before. The words were there, but you weren't anymore.