Your First Word

“People will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words.” – Khalil Gibran

In seven words, I couldn’t explain why I thought piercing my own ear was a good idea. I couldn’t tell the story about the catfish my mom had to pull out of my leg. I couldn’t describe every kiss I’ve had in my life, or what each one meant.

I’d shy away from expressing love. I wouldn’t even say I was sorry.

A language without synonyms, without diction, and without prose is nothing I can bear to speak. 082-5

With seven words, every letter would be the beginning of another sentence for me.

How would I tell my little brother that he is the best thing that’s ever come into my life, that every time he speaks, it’s the greatest thing I’ve heard. Could I adequately describe the physical loss I feel each time a tall and shaggy blond boy turns around on campus, and it’s not him? Would I be able to say that I’m proud of him? Would I be able to speak at all?

And how would I thank my mother for every stupid thing she’s ever talked me out of? Could I still express my gratitude for her honesty about all the boys I’ve dated, and could I say it loud enough? Would I waste a word just to call her “Mom”?

How would all my phone calls to my grandmother end? Where would they start? Is there room for the stories I want to share? Who knows how many syllables we’ve shared between the two of us. There are days when there is nothing I want more than her advice; can she give it in seven words?

In seven words, my dad would be the only one satisfied. How many times has he asked me to skip to the point?

I think I ran out of words a while ago. Do you understand?