small talk

i spoke to an old friend today. at least i think we talked. it was hard some­times to tell. see, she was mak­ing tracks to the whip­pin’ post. look­ing for some quick hugs and maybe just a lit­tle humil­i­a­tion along the way.

i was the after thought. small talk, real­ly. just a breeze. you know. the kind that moves through the silence at the eye of the hur­ri­cane, bare­ly lift­ing the leaves on the trees.

my friend was dif­fer­ent. she was the storm that fol­lowed. she knew every trick. every answer to every ques­tion either one of could think of to ask. every con­clu­sion she reached came togeth­er just like she thought it would. just like she planned.

my friend had decid­ed she was the only actor in this play. and her script had been set in stone. i tried to write a few new lines. make a brief appear­ance in a walk-on role. but i failed. she’d closed the book on new lines. and she’d done it long before today.

you know, talk­ing to my friend that day was a lit­tle like being lost in the for­est. there i was, pick­ing up the bread­crumbs she nev­er meant to drop, and offer­ing solu­tions to sit­u­a­tions she nev­er meant for me to see in the first place.

she judged her­self before my ears. she being the only judge. and then she found her­self guilty with­out the ben­e­fit of cross exam­i­na­tion. i think i failed in my defense. who was i to think that i could plead the case, any­way. before the jury of her fears.

in the end, my friend found her­self plead­ing with a hung jury. still out, i guess.
not because of any elo­quence i brought to the wit­ness stand, but because she must have had a few thoughts still sit­ting there, dumb and hap­py amidst her tat­tered soul.

any­body who ever thought tough love had a chance in sit­u­a­tions like this nev­er had to deal with dis­tance as a fact. nev­er pro­posed crazy answers to the end of a tele­phone cord. i know this. because i tried it.

tried and failed.