If you need to get somewhere in a hurry, don’t get me talking about health or I’ll regale you with cholesterol levels, BMRs and weekly exercise routines.
It’s funny how easily words pour out of my mouth as I describe the talented dogs at the Jump show over the weekend, but the minute I had my childhood best friend on the phone I was struck silent.
Hearing bad news is obviously a moment for reflection. In an instant a physical weight that’s part emptiness, part vagueness, but all sharp angles and coldness spreads out to your fingertips.
In that moment, knowing what to say to her to offer comfort, to express the refracting emotions scattering about my brain, seemed impossible.
All I could say was “I hope everything turns out okay” and immediately felt the ineptitude of the statement.
Of course I hoped she’d be okay. Of course I hoped that the ultimate prognosis would be the most favorable possible. Of course I hoped for the best.
There are long stretches where life seems easy. You interact with people and laugh, tease, and smile. Conversations might be hard or awkward, but we muddle through and move onto the next one.
Then unexpectedly you encounter a situation where an “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough.
Where a “I hope everything is okay” just doesn’t cover how you’re feeling.
Where silence forces your tongue to stick to the back of your throat. Large vocabularies scatter like grains of sand and quick brain impulses seize and congeal. We have so much we want to say but so few words to adequately explain them. Meanings trip over themselves on their way to forming words and we wonder “Will they get it?” Will they understand what I mean? Can I even begin to list what I feel, hope for, and wish above all? Perhaps a list would even cheapen my paltry words with its inadequacies.
Perhaps my feelings and hopes and fears conveyed themselves through the ether, but I’m not sure they did. I stood there struggling to figure out which words were right, but in the end, we hung up on that blank note and it has troubled me ever since.
It’s ironic how being human gives us this gift of speech, but words are not always suited to what life hands us.
I really don’t expect to truly find the “right” words, but I hope she was able to gleam a bit of what was soaking up my silence.