He was always quiet. Always. I could count on him to be either listening or focusing, but always quiet. And I was always talking. Trying to fill the spaces between us, crowd the air with small talk and silly banter that meant nothing in the end. I was trying to fill us up. Plug the holes that I thought I saw in our relationship, patch the cracks between every sentence, cover the spaces inbetween our conversation.
Now I see that instead of filling the cracks, I was instead pushing words into them. Widening them. Until it was a chasm I had no idea how to cross.
Sometimes, in the odd moments when I had calmed down enough to silence my unending chatter and just sit with him, I would stare at his hair, and hope that this would never end. The quiet mortification in which we held each other, the almost reverent way we would try to not touch, and the way he would always give me the neon orange plastic cup with Thor on it. Our friendship was slowly evolving to fondness. I didn’t know what to do, how to show my infatuation.
So I talked.
I spoke of the weather, and his dog, and of how the game of darts was invented, and how the sandwich got it’s name from a duke. I babbled on and on incessantly.
I talked during movies when I had my head on his shoulder. (His arm was painfully asleep and he didn’t tell me.) I talked when we walked his dog, and our fingers touched when he handed me the leash. (The dog was skittish around me.) I talked when we ate. (Turkey sandwiches on white bread. Cheddar cheese, lots of mayo.) I never stopped.
Except when we parted.
When ever we left each other’s company, silence would reign. We used to text, but as I got more unsure of what to say, more uncomfortable with my own inadequacy to do small talk, the cyber space went dead between us. The messages and silly emoticons, which used to flow so easily from my thumbprints, slowed and stuttered until it ceased entirely. Eventually neither of us tried anymore. And the silence got louder.
I didn’t know what to do. How to fix this. My endless babbling had done me a disservice, and now there were no words left. Lost in a jumble of nouns and verbs, I had somehow forgotten to leave a space for he and I to be together. Too many sharp corners of my thoughtless gibbering had driven him away, and no amount of words could spin a rope to drag him back to me.
So I lost him.
Drifting away in an enclave of quiet.