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head or heart
Silence is not empty.
It’s overflowing with treacherous, unspoken truths, far louder than any spoken word.
I am drowning, struggling for breath.
My mouth, my ears, my eyes are filled with silence. It engulfs me completely, and my lungs burst, screaming for air.
“Weston, I-” But the silence pulls me under again.
His voice is distant, as if his words are already a memory, “Michaela.”
My name, his voice. My name, clumsily falling from his lips. It makes me dizzy.
“I don’t understand,” he says in a hushed voice.
I open my mouth, but my words catch on the silence coiled around my vocal chords and spill out of my eyes.
On the other end, I can feel him sinking into the silence too. For a fleeting moment, I wonder if he can finally hear the blaring confession I’ve kept tucked away in the back of my head and behind my heart, but his mind has always seemed to be so closed.
The silence sends tremors through my body, and my hands shake. In an attempt to stop the trembling, I lay the phone in my lap and grip my legs, but it's useless. This is all hopeless.
Picking up the phone again, I squeeze my eyes closed and force force the silence from my lungs. It billows around my face, and makes my vision murky, but I think I can speak for now.
“Weston, I can’t- we can’t be,” I fall all over my words.
I hear him inhale painfully. Is the same pain that aches through my body hurting him too? I hope it is. I hope to God we are both hurting.
The sound of his question is filled with tiny bits of silence.
I want to scream.
I want to scream, but my head is telling me to stay quiet.
Stay quiet! Stay quiet! Do not say anything.
“It’s just too hard,” I choke out, trying to sound casual, but my words are dripping with that screaming silence, and catching on the knot in my throat.
He knows. He knows. He knows. He has to know.
My heart is thriving on hushed words, pushing them through my veins, until they brim with things I am forbidden to feel.
I swear the silence is devouring the phone line before he finally speaks again.
“What can I do?” he whispers.
That’s the first word that comes to my mind, as if perfectly programed.
This is all my fault. Not yours. None of this is your faul-
This is all your fault. Not mine. You didn’t need to hide us. We were a flawless fit.
Animosity blinds me, and eats away the silence. For a moment, I can speak with conviction.
“I am a black or white person, Weston,” my voice sounds strong, confident, and I relish in it, "I don’t do grey area.”
Then the haunting silence envelops me again, and I can’t catch my breath.
“I just- can’t,” I whisper, my voice far-removed.
I shutter, anticipating his response. The words tumbling off our tongues bring us to a fork, and we are stuck trying to decide which road to take.
“Michaela,” he breathes. “I love you.”
Everything stops. The screaming, the shaking, the pounding-- all ceases.
A quiet peacefulness washes over me as I gently drift to the top of the silence, heart fluttering in my stomach.
Our silence is identical. You love me! You love me! You love me too.
He speaks again, “You’re my best friend. You’re like my sister.”
My heart shatters my rib cage and I have to clench my teeth so as to not shriek in agony. I’m seeing red. No, black. No, a blinding, excruciating white. I can’t keep my vision straight.
I have been silent for too long.
The words pound in my chest, in my lungs, in my ears, in my head, until my whole body is pulsing with the urge to scream.
I love you! I love you!
I am completely and hopelessly and irrevocably in love with you.