You slipped into my life sideways. Into the backseat of a conversation I’d been having with my parents since the day I was born. Words with broken glass edges that severed threads inside me. Empty words like drift wood on the silence in ocean divides within my family. I picked up the glass pieces of those words, desperately searching for my reflection. There was nothing, and I hung my head in hopeless disgust.
But when you spoke I tasted laughter. And something else that I had no words for then. We were young. Very young. But the words were there. And slowly I lifted my head.
I was unprepared for you. What did I know about how good it would feel to be heard? What did I know about how to hear you? But you stayed. You spoke and it resonated inside me. You looked and you saw.
My own words were the rust on your hands, the cut from a barb, innocence mixed with brutality. And sometimes there was nothing to say. Nothing you could say. Nothing that would make anything better.
Words began to pass between us. Ripe words, bursting with the seeds of our future. New words. Words I had never spoken and never dared dream I would.
Some words were still spoken in darkness, others ventured their toes into the cool spring that ran between us.
Something flowed in the delicious scent of those words, good things we rolled around inside our mouths and sucked on like candy.
And marveled as I heard my own voice beginning to join yours.
How many words since then have passed between us?
Will you marry me?
Want to hold our son?
Can you hold me?
I love you.
And finally, when we realized we could each speak the words we need to hear for ourselves and for the other we whispered, I need you.
Happy Birthday, Matt.
The man who spoke my first giggle. How far we’ve come. May we speak, even as wrinkles fold their lines upon our faces and time eventually takes us with it.