Some Things Don’t Translate.

Once upon a time, I used to fall silent because I felt like no-one was listening. I thought that if I could just make them pay attention, they’d finally see my point of view, and, without a doubt, understand everything I told them, down to the smallest detail. During this period, my silence was still optimistic, and the barrier to utopia was made of flimsy cardboard. After a few good shoves, I could bear witness to its glorious demise.

These days, I fall silent because I feel like everyone is listening. They listen like there’s nothing in the world they’d rather be doing, and as though they’d hate nothing more than to respond where I can hear it.

They listen like eavesdroppers perched by slightly-cracked-open doors, and all they hear is all they want. The rest, they dismiss from discourse like they fear how unfiltered truth might taint the texture of gossip.

By my speech, they readjust the benchmarks of their aspirations. My words let them know exactly what they must now resolve to surpass.

These days, I am silent because I suspect my suffering satisfies people more than it should. Thank God there is still something wrong with her that nobody seems able to fix.

Once upon a time, I believed words could work like magic spells. The right ones could cause a ripple in the world’s fabric, fixing the desperately broken. According to my recalibrated beliefs, my words only call attention to the unfixable, those things that people would rather not be reminded exist; the commonest ailments, experienced so often that I look like a disrespectful egoist for insinuating that I, in particular, absolutely need to find a cure.

He who once listened and heard has now constructed a concrete divider between us, refusing to move it even while I yelled myself hoarse. I, in turn, quickly grew tired of having my only company be the miserable echo of my own voice.

There is no reason I should continue to speak in a language it seems only I have the dictionary for. It is inconsequential, how many of my words others recognize, when the meaning of every full sentence is always, invariably, lost on them.

It is wonderfully ironic, I think, when a person whose whole world is words deliberately forgets how to use their voice.

-Akotowaa

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