Your hand hovered in the air, measuring my reaction before it leaned on the next chord, the one you’d apologize for. “Out of tune,” you said, and I smiled, saying nothing, letting you believe there wasn’t a slipper conch of a listen. You thought I was waiting for something to happen, there, with your music. As if I were waiting for the tide of your song to pull me somewhere. You thought I was waiting for something to click. When would I tell you how much I loved it?
I couldn’t speak. I want this, with you, forever. I wasn’t there, beside you anymore, not really. I was forward, full of know. I wanted more of this.
When I’m around you, my words are too small. They don’t weigh enough. I’m languageless. I watch movies with you instead, the ones that have courage on tap, the kind that make my mortality heavier. All I can think, in those very moments, how can I tell him? So I don’t say anything because you need to feel the weight of it in your hands, with my pulse right there, yours for the taking. You need to know it without words, by the fact that when I want so much to run away, I don’t. I stick.
I knew it the other day, walking in the rain, while I rounded the corner of 42nd Street. Right there on a street corner, the same one I’d passed and waited on so many times before. I began to cry, knowing if you were there, you’d hug me and secretly think, “Man, she cries a lot.” And you’d offer me a napkin thinking, “Man, for a woman who doesn’t need napkins…” And then I’d hit you and hide my face in your shirt. You wouldn’t really know what I was crying about. You’d try to solve it. It’s one thing I never want you to solve.
I knew I’d have to say it face down, my head buried into a pillow, but I decided not to, rationalizing, “they’re just words.” Show him. But words mean sometimes. Words have weight because they last. It’s ironic that a raconteur can’t give you her words because she worries you’ll see them as “just,” or “only,” and that’s not the four letter word I was going for. You’re my hope. My friend. My equal.
You’re the one who makes me face what’s hard, the worst parts of me, the things that take courage. You inspire me to hold the weight of my fears, and I hope I can somehow accrue, can somehow show you something, at least a portion of how you’ve changed my life.
And to answer your question, I don’t know what you played for me on your guitar, or if I liked it. What went through my mind at that moment: you are a blessing in my life, and I know it seems strange, but I just know, the way I know surprise endings in movies, that I’ll spend the rest of my life encouraging you to play those songs to me, the ones without words. I usually don’t take to music without words, but around you, it’s all I’ve got. I don’t need the words: I already know them.