Monday, June 03, 2013

BITE YOUR TONGUE, BOY

The refrigerator's quiet hum is as loud as a chainsaw. The stove ticks as a burner cools; blacks beans are done.

I don't remember the dreams from last night, but I wake up from a dead man's pose — facedown, numb arms beneath me — with blood on my lips. Another night of biting my tongue and keeping mum. I am doing what the girl of my dreams asks. I am keeping quiet.

The same holds true in my waking hours. Rationing words has never been easier. I can smile and make eye contact in the appropriate places as acquaintances tell me about their lives. A well-placed question can lead to long stretches of response, and all I have to do is nod, maybe throw in the occasional "mm-hmm."

When someone asks me a personal question I am the master of deflection, and this is a good thing. How are you? Fine. No, really? Fine. Can you believe that Michael Douglas story?

People cannot resist going down the path of a good oral-sex story.

It's best that I not divulge what's going on inside me. Most people would not understand, many others would take offense or be alarmed, and some things are sacred. This thing is precious. It is the only thing left that I can truly call my own.

For a moment I feel the urge to call a friend, turn on the TV, turn up the music, shout at the top of my lungs — anything, everything, to shatter the quiet and interrupt the cycle. But then I slap myself upside the head and come to my senses. The silence around me makes it easier to listen to the voice within me. I will do as I'm told.

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