Our Silence: An Open Letter

I’m just going to start off by saying that I’m a hypocrite, let’s just get that out of the way now. I tell people to talk to each other when there’s a problem, but I haven’t talked to you in weeks. If we exclude the nightly question about turning the lights off before we go to bed, we haven’t spoken to each other in months. It’s not like we ever talked that much to begin with, so I’m not really sure what to make of us not talking now.

There was one conversation at the beginning, when I still thought things could work out, but when I look back on it now, even when we were talking it was just an a lull, words slipped away, and silence moved in between them.

In the first month or so I tried to include you, bring you on outings with my friends. But your polite rejections and promises of another time lost words over the course of time, until it was one or two word answers, and I stopped asking. Our words were slowly replaced by this viscous air, heavy with the smell of Thai food, nail polish remover and melted wax. Your smells.

I made my mistakes too, I’ll admit that. Some of them make me hate myself a little more ever time I think about them. And I’m sure I could’ve waded through the foggy silence of the room to ask you to elaborate every time you said you were “fine”. I used to ask myself why I should put this much effort into trying to get someone to talk to me when they’re the one that let this ugly silence into my head.

The judgmental silence whenever I get up early, or breathe the air wrong. The walking on egg shells silence because you look like you’re about to cry and I want to hug you but I know that it will make things worse. The angry silence when you don’t help me when I really could’ve needed it. The pathetic silence when I wonder why I need you to like me. The silent silence, when I realize I don’t care anymore.

It’s hard to be upset for this long, eventually the coals that have burned holes in your belly fizzle out and grow cold and crumble apart into dust and float away in silence. And then the silence between us feels like a safety buffer. It’s the silence I bring home with me from when I meditate, because the silence with you was choking me and I needed time alone. It’s the silence of the rain running down the window as you sleep, and I know that I’m leaving. It’s the silence of knowing that you weren’t as bad as I made you out to be when I was angry, but also knowing that you certainty weren’t the hero of this story either (neither of us were good enough for that). It’s the  silence of being next to another soul, just as complex as mine, in pain, in joy, in anger, and realizing that we don’t need to talk. We never did.

I hope you don’t mind, but I want to be the one to keep Silence, our greatest mutual friend. I got to know her through you, but she’s really helped me cope with all this. She’s a different person when she’s not around you, and I think we’ll all be better off this way.

As we’re getting ready to say goodbye now, I just want to apologize for my role in this never working out. For the times when I judged you, for the times that I cried on the phone to my parents about you, for the times that I talked about you behind your back to make myself feel better. And for everything else.

I’m sorry for the silence.


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