A Night Full of Talking that Hurts

by Matters of Inquiry

“A night full of talking that hurts,
my worst held-back secrets. Everything
has to do with loving and not loving.
This night will pass.
Then we have work to do.” – Rumi

Smoke by the railroad tracks, the 5 o’clock train to Philadelphia rattling leaf and stone alike, the shudder of a waking up. Sunset through the trees and a long conversation— the unveiling of a story between friends with ten years of absense between them, a long catching up, a coming together of stories and even stranger tides, of two young women with nothing but time.

I don’t think anyone can say they are the same person they were a decade ago. Then, I was fourteen, an idiosyncratic mix of mischief and silence, a girl displaced from the quiet suburbs of upstate New York to the flat, crowded menagerie of diners and Jersey culture. Unlike my younger sister, I never felt at home in New York. Packing my bags left me with little nostalgia, and settling down in some new land made me feel like a midwestern pioneer setting out on the Yukon goldrush. But I never felt at home in New Jersey, either. I don’t belong in any one place.

Seeing the changes an individual undergoes is terrifying and exciting; we become strange, dark opals polished by tossing and turning, some colors magnified, others scratched away. Even biologically, by the time we die, there are no molecules left of our bodies from the moment of our birth. We aren’t statues in some garden that changes and reshuffles around us, but rather an oil painting set atop a water canvas, a masterpiece that grows and shrinks and eventually drifts apart.

Who are you, in this moment?
What parts of yourself will you keep?

Sitting on the remants of that old, stone bridge, wandering with a longlost friend through sunlight, smoke, and stories, I felt the nostalgia that I should have perhaps felt when I first moved to New Jersey, that “at-home-edness” that had been missing for so long. Love takes many forms. Its shoots can be cultivated into so many shapes and varieties, some short-lived, others perrenial and unassuming, dormant even, but not dead. The long period of silence between us made me realize how important it is that we take the risk to reach out, to express ourselves even when we’re afraid, to strip ourselves of the armor that will tire us if always worn.

I’ve learned this much: language was created so that we may understand eachother, to light the dark thoroughfares of doubt between people; silencing our thoughts undoes this purpose. Find the words that make you feel the most vulnerable, the most naked. Find what you are most afraid to say, and ask yourself, what would happen if I told this person everything?

Then talk to me,
even if its a night full of talking that hurts.