I could be called a determined adversary of silence.

Dady died curled around his pain, unable to say, "I hurt," unable to hear "I care," because Daddy had grown up in silence where "I hurt" and a kiss should have been.

But Daddy could fill the air with talk about Them Bastards and science and poetry and music and faust and Them Bastards, everything that made me literate but unable to speak simple pain or simple love.

I didn't want the hugs in Daddy's eyes at night after half a gallon of wine. I wanted the hug that hung silent between us as we sat in separate chairs after discussing the Renaissance.

It took 45 years before I could unclench around my grief and know that "I hurt" was enough to say. Before I could unclench around my joy and know that "thank you" was not too small a word. To stop filling the air with sounds about science and music and poetry and start paring away to the heartbeats inside them.

There are still wide starlit prairies in my soul that no-one will ever walk by my side. If it weren't so, how would I learn what the grass there sings only to me? There are still fields the other side of those hills that I have not seen yet. They give me room enough to grow.

I ask only that each silence, like each word, have a heartbeat.

I am not a determined adversary of silence.

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@copy; Anitra L. Freeman, July 5, 2000