When Words Fail

We were still together at that time.

I’d taken her to our favorite place: a rocky plane with a nicely-drawn path carved in stone that led to a cliff overlooking the ocean.

It was her favorite spot.

She once told me she could be anything here: a singer, a celebrity, a rocket scientist, an actress, a princess…anything without the world judging her or tearing her down or laughing in her face.

She felt invincible just by standing here. And I felt invincible standing next to her.

Strange how deeply another human life can affect us; I’d always believed that life was meant to be carried out alone – that you were born alone and spent your time alone until your final day. I never believed in sharing my moments with anyone. I never believed in sharing my soul with anyone.

But she was different.

She was brilliant, intelligent, sharp and beautiful…and she had that little devil that danced within her occasionally and set her apart from the other smart and beautiful girls I had come across in my life.

She loved music – and she loved to perform – which made our favorite spot all the more special: she’d run over to the cliff, twisting and turning and galloping across the pathway until she made it to the end. There, she’d sing with her loudest and most melodic voice, and I’d close my eyes and forget all the dark nights I spent alone drinking in front of the white pages. I’d close my eyes and forget the whorehouses and the bitches and the smokes and the fights in the alleys and the rent money and the food and the dirty clothes and the endless tiring jobs…I’d be transported and soothed by this angelic voice, a voice that was pure and compassionate and beyond human greed and contempt.

I’d look at her and see her under a new light every time she’d sing another song; I’d look at her and think, ‘Damn, there isn’t a single moment I could imagine being turned off by this.’

And so I’d postulate the odds, the odds of an old bum like me winding up with a maiden like her, the odds of a failure meeting a spark that would reignite it, the odds of a madman driven to the grave by booze and words finally meeting peace and salvation.

I’d contemplate the odds – because the odds were themselves oddities that struck a man’s mind and turned it upside down. The odds were themselves strange and weird and mad and crazy and forbidden and logic-defying; the odds challenged reality and the truth of the matter and everything else in this life which clearly showed a person like me could never end up with a woman like her.

That’s why I contemplated the odds – because they were scary and full of hope.

And hope was an oath I’d sworn never to take.

The sun was coming down on this pleasant day and we sat down on the cliff’s end contemplating the raging ocean waves.

‘Why do you never write about me?’ she asked me with her sweet voice.

Her eyes were filled with sparkles and were close to tears.

I didn’t answer her. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to – it was because I didn’t know how. I didn’t have an answer for her question – and I didn’t have the cure for her heartache.

She was struggling to control herself and fight back the tears.

‘You’ve always said to me you wrote about the things that matter…the things that influence you or amaze you or inspire you or piss you off or drive you crazy…the things that count in life…why don’t you ever write about me?’

Then her voice disappeared.

She moved closer to me, sticking her body to mine, gently placing her right hand on top of mine, looking at me again with those pearly eyes as if to drive me to submission, before asking again, ‘Why don’t you ever write about me?’

‘Is it because I don’t mean anything to you?’

There was another cold silence.

I tried to summon every power in me to answer her, but at that very moment, words – usually my closest allies in times of need and darkness – deserted me. I sat there with nothing to say.

She took my resignation as a sign of acceptance, withdrew her hand and got up, stared at me one last time with those big eyes – like a person who had run out of reasons to not hate someone – and walked away.

I watched her leave down the stone pathway, in between the giant carved rocks, her body shining with the colors of the sunset before she finally disappeared.

I was still frozen in place, my lips sealed tightly together, my mind blank with fear and confusion.

The worst had happened; I had lost her.

I had lost her over a conversation; I had lost her over an answer; I had lost her over a few words.

I got up, dusted myself, put my hands in my jeans pockets and started walking down the pathway.

If only she knew, I thought, the reason why I never wrote about her…

It had finally dawned on me after all this time: I’d never mentioned her in my writing, I’d never written a single sentence about her, I’d never tried my hand at a poem dedicated to her…

If only she knew…that she was the thing that mattered…the thing that influenced me and amazed me and inspired me and pissed me off and drove me crazy…the thing that counted in life…

She was the one thing I could never write about – she was the only thing I could never risk defacing or ruining or breaking or hurting or degrading with my art.

By the end of the day I had the answer she was burning to hear: I couldn’t write about her because I didn’t want to turn something beautiful into less than what it was.

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