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Quiet So Loud

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You fold your hands together in a manner far more supplicant than mine, asking for other people and not for yourself. Because you yourself will never want nor will you need because a tangible God watches every hitch of breath you take and answers all your prayers.

Secretly, I am grateful for this. But I will still see the devil in every shadow, if only because I am used to having you in mine.

These are the things I don’t tell you, though I think you have some idea.

You move like you are constantly fearing a blow, though you hide it well. But you always shift a beat too late to be natural, and your laxest of poses has a wary and animalistic stiffness to it. You don’t walk from place to place so much as you seem to appear in one place and then another, as if your limbs were filled with that itching silence and static between songs on the old vinyl records we used (still do) to love. 

 When you move, it’s not music; it’s that tense breath before the first note and slowly, slowly you become comfortable enough in your skin to let it play serenades over muscle and bone.

You aren’t music so much as you are a sigh of wind that blows through bared branches, but this a thought that is mine and only mine.

You follow me like you always do, surreptitiously trying to stretch your legs out to match my stride even though you can’t. But at least today I can manage not to tease you for it. Mostly. I smile at you and you smile back, a beat too late like always as we pass underneath the wooden lintel.

You were staring at me again and you’ve been doing that a lot more often lately. Sometimes you just seem to stare like you’re lost in thought and I was the first thing your eyes caught on. Other times you stare like you want to say something or like you want me to.

I think, sometimes, that if you’d tell me what you wanted me to say, I’d say it. Because I know what I want to say, but that era is past us. It’s not worth the effort it would take to mourn it, because it’s not like I lost anything important. You’re not dead and you never left, so I don’t see the point of pining. I still have you, imperfectly, because you watch so much but see so little and you need me to hold on to you, even if it’s just like this.

And I can sigh and roll my eyes at you when I come back to find you in my seat just to annoy me, because you’re smiling and only seeing my reaction and nothing else. I can grumble and shove you aside and tell you that your eyes are crooked but not tell you that our hands are close enough that I can feel the heat coming off of you, that I could take your hand if I wanted.

But you watch so much and see so little that if you aren’t noticing, then I won’t say it.

I prayed today that God would save me from becoming a greedy man until my next confession.

It’s an imperfect understanding, but you haven’t needed words in ages.

So we can sit here wordlessly in a quiet so loud.