Bent Words

Bent Words

June 19, 2007

His words were calm. Like those rare moments during dusk when all the motors on the lake have ceased their whir/sputter/splash for the day. When the weekend has worn down and the excitement of the sun has dissipated smoothly just over the trees across the way. His words were matter-of-fact but the movements of his body weren't quite in tune with his tongue. His hands shook, ever so slightly, just before he folded them over the counter and the turn of his head was too quick to allay any ideas of peace. His eyes darted, if you were looking carefully enough, so that you knew he wasn't settled inside -- yet somehow he kept up a good facade.

He was angry. And only I knew why. Only I didn't really comprehend.

"Eight o'clock pretty much pisses me off," he said dryly, referring to the late hours at work.

He looked around and waited for a response, than smiled. He smiled and looked down at his hands, folding them over each other before disregarding them again completely. Just as he had, only moments before, disregarded the sincerity of my testimony.

His smooth words were his way of letting me know I had not won. I hadn't gotten to him. But he didn't have to pretend and he didn't have to flaunt indifference -- I knew he was angry and I knew I did get to him. Not that I was trying to hurt him, not that I was seeking out his destruction or his frustration. That's just how it always seems to work. And I know, more than he would dare to admit, that he loved the game. Otherwise, why would he keep playing?

It was an unwritten idea swirling throughout his being; 'How can I hurt her?' 'How can I make her feel as I do?' 'How can I destroy that which she holds dear?'

So he lets the words that do not matter flow freely from his lips, while holding tightly to the ones which would certainly bear the burden of his anger. He will not claim what it is exactly that I have taken and he will not shed light so as to free me of my weight. Instead, he dangles these ideas in front of me; watching and waiting for the moment that I break. And I let him do it -- again -- because I know that I am wrong.

He stands alone somewhere. In a well-lit room with angry music blaring back against his ears, making progress on projects that portray some sort of meaning in his life. He beats his fingers on the wooden bench and thumps his foot against the ground, perfectly, to the music. His mind wanders, lost to a moment that he wishes he could forget when I could make him smile and he begins to hate himself for having let me affected him. All that time wasted in which he could have been doing something else -- he could have been fulfilling a dream -- conquering twisty tracks laden with dirt, making right that which was broken as far as engines go, learning new recipes that he never needs to write down...

But it never occurs to him, as he stamps out his anger on the oil-stained floor, that along the way he might have been wrong, too. That love, candid love, despite all that it must entail, could not only be labeled so simply as a mistake. That regarding it as such only defines the one who received and gave the love in return as nothing more than a mistake. He never thought or fathomed or recognized, in all these moments strung together like dates on a calender, that he could have saved a life.

He seemed to only think of that which he could destroy.

There is a difference between intent and folly. There are those of us who trip up, fall down and stumble along the way and yet we still hold pure intentions. Then there are those who seek to trip others, allowing them to fall and stumble, without ever reaching out and without ever understanding exactly why.

And how can you love something you don't understand?

Written at 11:00 p.m.