An Unfinished Story

The words- they are lovely in the beginning when it is always spring and you are perpetually driving up a winding hill, windows open with the newly warm wind in your hair, radio blasting the song you first fell in love to.
And they are charming when it is still new and you are both perched on the edge of your barstools whispering to each other in the dive bar you go to because everyone else there is sad which makes your happiness even more profound and impossible somehow.
The words have a physical impact on your heart and cause a slight arrhythmia, especially when coupled with the sensation of being lifted and then kissed hard as you are pressed feverishly against the outside brick wall of said sad dive bar.
Even as you go on, the words sustain you, giving hope and confidence as you are assured of changes ahead/a new goal/the life you imagined, particularly when they are accompanied by a wavering voice, a welling of tears in the eyes and a firm promise.
The shift happens slowly, subtly. The words- they begin to fall flat and you need more than just a tear on the cheek for them to mean something.  You need a commitment and some follow through and a list and alarms set. You say the same things over and over; you play the part, the scene is set. You could have the conversation in your sleep.
Over time, you receive less and less sustenance from the words and then one day you realize they are just a collection of consonants and vowels- useless really.  In the end the words are just there and you hear them and try to smile weakly, knowing their intent, but also knowing they cannot equal the hundreds of times you’ve vacuumed the floors and  replaced the trash bag.  The words do not make phone calls and pay bills.  They don’t change diapers and fold laundry or scrub showers and make dinner.  The words do not bake dozens upon dozens of cookies or pick kids up from school or save money or spend it.
And then that is all – just painful suspense – an unresolved tension; a sadness. You long for meaning and you become cynical and hard. You go through motions because without words, all you have are motions.  You work to keep the ambivalence at bay.

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