The Economy of Words

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One look at the calendar confirmed what she had known for weeks. No. That’s not quite true. It confirmed what she knew but had been ignoring. All the signs had been there, but Gabrielle was hopeful that things would be different this year.

Lucy’s silence was always cause for concern. Rarely did it come from just being too busy. More often than not, the busy was an attempt to keep her mind distracted. And it wasn’t that Gabrielle didn’t believe her to be busy. It was just that deep down, she knew there was something else going on, even if Lucy was unwilling to admit it.

The silence was her wall. She put it up when she felt vulnerable. It was a silence of loss…innocence, people, love, dreams. It was also a silence of fear. Fear of loving again. Fear of losing love again. Fear of feeling…something, anything that was good. Gabrielle had watched Lucy pull away so many times when she got too close. It was always accompanied by silence.

When Lucy did speak, she often didn’t give up much. She guarded her words the same way she guarded her heart. Little peeks in, but never fully exposed. Full exposure was too frightening. She had come close several times, but when she saw that Gabrielle was willing to hold her heart, she’d put the wall back up. Now, they danced around it, both knowing the truth but unwilling to speak it.

Gabrielle didn’t always respond well to the silence. Some days, she understood and was fine. Other days, she wanted to scream and kick. It wasn’t that she was angry or blamed Lucy. She just wished there was a way to change things. She wished there was a way to assure Lucy that she wasn’t going to break her heart or leave her. But there are no assurances in life and to believe otherwise bordered on delusional. All she could offer was herself and her best.

So, Gabrielle endured the silences. She took what words were offered. She watched her own words and swallowed the questions she wanted to ask. Saying too much, asking too much, would scare Lucy away. Again. Knowing that the silences could get longer the closer they got to the holidays, Gabrielle prepared for the worst and hoped for something better. She wanted to grab Lucy and say, “It can be good again. You can be happy again. You just have to let go of some of that fear.”

Instead, she watched for signs. She waited. She sent her hopes out into the universe. She listened to everything the silence had to tell her.

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