Monday, February 12, 2007

to M [if you ever look for it.]

one of the hardest things when i first moved home was watching my grandparents interact. they were horrible to each other. they would lash out, unprovoked. they would needle mercilessly over the very trivial. listening to them would stir up my sense of unfairness and injustice in a way that it hasn't been since i was fourteen, arguing myself bloody against the wall of my dad. but i rarely interrupted their dialogues, partially out of discression and partially because neither of them actually appreciated my interference. this is how my two years of talking less began. no action seemed like a good action, so i listened, and what i heard is that when two people have been married for sixty years, no one else knows what it is they're saying to each other-- even when they hear it, even when it's "please pass the syrup". every word is so full of old meaning. no word is innocent, and it's impossible to know what compliment is a provocation and what slur is a coded endearment. i might as well have attempted to mediate an argument between two people speaking portuguese. i hope that i never talk to anyone the way they'd talk to each other, but i don't know anything about what it's like to be at the end of my life, stuck in a house with the person i've lived it with, and if i judge them i judge them gently.

i've come to feel that most relationship, at least the vital ones, are a little (or a lot) twisted in ways that it's easy for casual observers to disparage. life in the world is ragged and impenetrably complex, right, and so are we, and so are the ways that we relate to each other, and so are the circumstances that we find ourselves in when we go to relate, but i don't think that it's therefore best to abstain. the judgers don't know where it's all headed any better than anyone else, let alone where it should be headed or how we should get there.

some circumstances are particularly ragged, and anything other than cutting one's losses looks imprudent. but i don't really give a fuck how this looks. it's not ideal, but nothing is. i'll navigate any circumstance with you.

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