The strange thing about relationships is you never quite know all the how or where or when they’re going to end. Maybe you threw punches because you wanted to use the ball on the playground or you had a big argument about the restaurant you were supposed to go to but then they hated or maybe you get hit by a car crossing the street.
When you open a book you can count the number of pages right there in the lower right corner. Eventually you’re going to get to Page 326 or 478 or 1,298 if you’re reading a Stephen King novel. Then it’s going to say “The End” or something and it goes back on your shelf.
But with people, we rarely get the chance to look forward in time to see that moment. Do we want to look? Would we see some catastrophe ahead and then wait completely stressed out until that moment comes to pass? Or maybe we’d reflect and savor every single minute knowing there are no more and that alarm is about to ring and you can’t hit snooze.
Life is supposed to be full of surprises. Unless you’re a God Fearing Man or Woman and you believe that all decisions are actually part of some Grand Plan that you have no control over and you’re just wandering around a literal life-sized board game letting some Devine Spirit roll the dice and move you from place-to-place. Then life is not full of surprises.
Somewhere in the middle of all these things, I guess, is the most painful option of watching a Something fade to Nothing, withering on its vine in front of you while you stand there with your empty spray bottle, helpless.
I think “onlooker delay” is the worst possible phrase in the English language but boy does it sum us up nicely. We’re going to slow down and view some wreckage but then so much it pisses off a motorist a half-mile behind us who then also glares at something horrible and on and on it goes. We all get angry at each other so we can more fully see something tragic that’s happened to another for some kicks. Then we’re late for dinner but maybe we were supposed to be late all along. Depends if you want your life to have a surprise or no surprise.
Quiet and silent are synonyms of each other – you can go ahead and look it up I did and you’re welcome to confirm – but they mean very different things. If we go all Merriam-Webster of course they do because “quiet” means “making little or no noise” and silent is all about “not making or accompanied by any sound.” Damn maybe they do mean the same thing my bad.
OK but no.
The quiet of a space or especially between two people acknowledges the shared existence. You’re together but audibly separate, probably mentally, too. At this point I’ll assume maybe emotionally as well.
When things are silent in this same scenario, it’s a deafening nothingness. There is no acknowledgement. You can quietly eat with someone, but if you silently dine together you might as well not be there at all. You’re just stuffing food into your mouth with a poltergeist because rather than floating around like a ghost this aberration is causing “physical disturbances” is what the dictionary tells me. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than this kind of haunting, where you know what’s going on but can’t or won’t admit the phantom is there because to do that would be too scary. They’re right there, chewing on some broccoli, but you can’t look because that would be conceding to its existence and opening up a whole netherworld you don’t want to deal with.
It’s weird how so much of life is coming to grasp what the end of something means, even though things end around us so much. Playtime or daytime or stories or people. Every day is a matter of encountering loss but it takes a while to understand what it means. Who ever wants to leave the playground? Why would we dare finish that final bite?
People go away whether we want them to or not and to watch it happen in real time is our tragedy and comedy. Our last supper is served, so enjoy its courses.