Three phone calls

Everyone who thinks they're a listener is a talker

There’s not enough of a difference between what I do and what I don’t, to me. Every day I walk on a rope I can’t perceive, and I just keep going. There are days when this feels romantic, and in my mind’s eye is a representation of this stringy mass of life that is signifying nothing real, nothing I could open my eyes and see.

I picked up the phone, which I don’t do, and I accepted all your ideas, which had nothing to do with what I had done. I think you get that now, that I will accept your ideas to show you how I listen. But you understanding this doesn’t teach you how to listen. I can’t remember when it became noble and attractive to be quiet and let others talk but I know this in fact happened in my lifetime. Now I have a hard time accepting that everything I did to be physically beautiful is overshadowed by my interpersonal grace.

No one wants to notice it. My friends don’t say, “Wow!” Instead, they compliment my attitudes. I flip through all the best portraits in my head and feel sad that anyone tried to be relevant. You just are, aren’t you? You meet the moment because you were already headed there or you conscript yourself to some dumb fate. And that’s OK!, I tell absolutely everyone. It’s OK because both can happen to you over and over again!

(I should say that it’s OK as long as both can happen to you over and over again, but I don’t because I am a listener.)

(I talk this over with you, a different you this time, and we agree that I should say everything I mean aloud, but even then, sometimes it’s not worth the responsibility. So theoretically, I am good if I say everything I mean aloud on the phone, but in reality, I won’t, because I can only take so much, and that’s OK!)

(It’s conversations like these that always make me feel so close to you every time, this you, who lobs the ball back and forth, who comes up with little ideas for us, who doesn’t know what to do but is happy to imagine it’s possible to know. I feel like a child now because I never did. I sidle up to everything you know which makes me love you so much. This, I can open my eyes and see in the way you wear your shirt, hold your head, stand in photos.)

And there are days when I panic, when I look at every object and see nothing in them but the demand to signify. And this is why I write, but don’t call you.