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?

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7 thoughts on “Your First Word

  1. Never hold back your words! Sometimes we think “was that the right thing to say”, and then we get words from the person we said them to and they are words of gratitude or words like “I never knew you felt that way”. Sometimes when someone is hurting we just need to express love without words! “I shot an arrow in the air”!

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