When I was in first grade I had to sit for a week at a desk in a giant cardboard box in the corner of the classroom because I talked too much. It did not teach me the lesson they hoped. In third grade we watched the old version of The Little Mermaid and a teacher fantasised out loud that Ursula could take my voice away. WHY? I wondered. I wouldn’t be able to talk if she did that! When I was in sixth grade a teacher threw a book at me because he thought I was talking. I wasn’t but because I had a reputation as a chatterbox I got the blame. I felt the injustice intensely as an eleven year old, but time has healed that wound and now I think, ‘poor frustrated teacher.’
And then. When I met my Other Half I met my match. When OH and I are together we talk almost constantly.
Our conversation is a sea of words, sometimes flowing together in currents around continents, sometimes exploding in firework sprays against rocks. Dark storm clouds tint the words midnight black, wild white horses throw their manes as they gallop in towards shore on those conversations. Or soft summer breezes soothe the swells and the sun laughs against the calm water at its reflection on the sweet but deep chatter of best friends.
Sometimes our words lift and curl, word-waves make sculptures aqua and transparent against bright skies filled with sun and clouds, the water reaching across the tide, stretching, teasing and taunting then rolling over like otters on the shiny sand. Sighs left behind as foam melts.
Every moment we’re together we are talking. Even when we’re quiet and sitting with stillness. One of us will speak like a break in the cloud, half a sentence sometimes, and the other will say, ‘I didn’t hear the first part of that,’ and we will laugh at the old joke, because we often start a conversation with the other while it still sits swelling in our mind, before it overflows in the fresh air. And even though we didn’t hear the first part, we kind of knew it anyway because our minds have been holding hands without us, sharing the stories before we had time to catch up. Telepathy.
What could possibly fill that fresh air between us?
We talk about tax and politicians, fashion and celebrities, a new favourite artist, a play one of us thinks the other would like, colours we’d like to try on the wall and how the light makes this room enchanting as it slants across the bedding in the afternoon. We talk about witty Twitter banter, which coffee we like best, the way the cat stretches its paw, or what else to add to the grocery list. We read passages from books aloud to each other, and share photos we took during the day when we weren’t together. We plan dinner parties, we organise To Do lists, and we brainstorm unusual things to do for each other’s birthday. We talk about the link one sent the other yesterday, our long list of travel destinations and how we want to add one but take another away. We get an idea and a moment later we’re doing it and we delight in the spontaneity. We talk about the business we’re starting together, we talk about house hunting together, we talk about new friends we’re making and old friends we want to spend more time with.
We laugh when we talk, we disagree when we talk, we convince and irritate and soothe and cajole. We dream and support and cheer each other on. We talk highbrow and silly, we talk dirty and gentle. We flirt and enchant, we remind and remember. Fish of all colours swim in our sea of words.
And we listen.
It isn’t always the waves on the sea of words that we need to hear, but what swims within the words. So we listen like the beach waits for waves.
And I know he hears me when I feel his energy change, and instead of riding the wave with me he holds my words like the beach. He hears me when I say I am excited for a plan but underneath… I feel anxious about a little sliver of it and he pulls me close with his strong arms fortressing around me and his heart beats against my chest and I lean against his shoulder and let his mind reassure mine through that telepathy of ours, little waves from the big sea swirling around the stones.