March 4, 2012: Silence

Published March 4, 2012 by April Fox

Today is March 4, 2012. You probably already know that, based on the little numbers on the bottom right of your screen, but I had to say it anyway.

Today, two friends are celebrating their birthdays, and it’s snowing outside.

It’s March 4, and it shouldn’t be snowing. The beautiful weather we had last week should have stayed, not been chased away by a cold front that left me blinded by wind and sun and tiny snowflakes that most people would declare beautiful, dancing against the bright blue sky, but only make me feel sick. Winter is a virus that claims me for months, and I can pull myself up and away from it on the best and brightest days, but underneath it’s killing me till spring.

[This is going to be one of those blogs in which I mostly just think out loud; feel free to close this tab and move on to Pinterest or your favorite news site. I’m not sure I have much of consequence to say.]

Today is March 4. 21 months ago yesterday, I’d never spoken to beloved, only knew of him in the vaguest sense, as one of the Other Guys in a band with my two guitarist friends. He was the guy who replaced my other friend in the band, and out of some weird sense of loyalty, I didn’t like him much, even though my friend’s leaving the band was voluntary. I’d heard his name from another friend, a guy in New York who through a bizarre coincidence knew us both, but his was only one of many names I heard and dismissed and went back to when I was searching for some point of reference for a conversation I’d had with someone else.

21 months ago today, he answered an email I sent to him and my friends about their band and a story I was writing. 21 months ago today was probably the last time we discussed the article, moving from polite exchanges of pertinent information to long, drawn-out stories of our childhoods. The time it took to get there was forever, but it happened instantaneously, somehow.

I’ve known him less than two years, but he’s been here my whole life. That scares me, eats away at my cynical little brain in the middle of the night when he needs his space and I need mine-one of the things that made us both go YES, this person understands, upon realizing the similarity there-and we are on two separate continents, sharing a bed. Back to back, nothing between us, he reads his news and I read mine, and I imagine the light from his screen makes him look pale and sick like mine does to me. We cannot tolerate conversation, but won’t allow even the sheet to separate us, either. Every so often he reaches back and sets his hand on my hip as if checking to see if the rest of me still exists; I keep my feet on top of his, pausing between words to think about how small I am next to him.

March 4, and it’s quiet here. The kids aren’t home yet from their weekend with dad, the dog is silent in his infamous little red hut, the cat sleeps on top of the record player and beloved is off at the studio, working. Margot plays through my shit laptop speakers, but the silence in here is louder than that. I’m almost afraid to leave the room, or the vacuum outside might swallow me up.

March 4, and 21 months later we have found ourselves here, swapping time with the car so he can get to gigs and I can get the kids and do we need milk while I’m out? No, not today. Less than two years and we have gone from all night talks and wondering where we’d be next week to promises of permanence and wondering where those people went who talked until our eyes were red and watery, and our voices faded out over the phone and we slept, side by side, miles apart, but different than now.

This is not what I expected at all, if I’d expected anything. I’m still unwrapping how I feel about this, overanalyzing like I do everything, wondering, still, how he knows this is right; wondering even more how I know, but knowing I do, and it is.

March 4, and if I said to him the weather is eating me alive and the stress of life is tearing me in half, he might in his frustration with my own accuse me of making excuses for why I’m restless and edgy and looking for reasons to stay. We were mostly silent while I dropped him off at  work, and when he comes home I expect we’ll be the same, settled into silence borne of his conviction that nothing needs said, and my own that there’s no point in talking. And at some point in the night, he’ll reach over and settle his hand on my hip, and I’ll hold my breath for a minute to feel his heart beating against my back, and all the words we needed to say will be there in the silence, waiting to be heard.

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