The Hardest Words

March 20, 2013


Some people seem to struggle inordinately with three little words, the simplest little emotion standing as a toll-gate for irrevocable commitment, consequences, an inevitable life-path all mapped out and a fate worse than death. But those three words aren’t the hardest for me.

“Don’t go.” That’s the kicker.

“Don’t go.” When a conversation is ending right when you are falling into fascination. When the questions are out there but the answers yet to come.

“Don’t go.” When things are just getting interesting. When there is nothing fit to follow, just drabness, mundanity and boredom. Or emptiness and solitude.

“Don’t go.” When you aren’t sure how many moments like this you will ever experience. You want to extend it, wring it for every extra second you can, whether those droplets of precious time taste like lifeblood to you or are simply the sticky-sweet syrup of interest.

“Don’t go.” When your soul is screaming, because this moment, this person will never touch your life again in the same way. Maybe never be there to touch.

“Don’t go.”

It carries so much baggage, doesn’t it?

“I love you.” That’s a statement of your feelings. Happy little clouds and fluffy unicorns, birdsong, a heel-click, the taste of cinnamon in your coffee.

Maybe it carries expectations, maybe it doesn’t. That’s down to you, or your listener’s assumptions.

And it’s only going to arise with certain people, in certain situations. “I love you” will not attack you by stealth. You know where it’s going to be.

“Don’t go” comes out of the bushes. It hides up a tree. It can be for anyone, at any time.

“Wait, what? No!” Don’t go, we haven’t finished.

We haven’t finished.

“Don’t go.” That’s a demand, right there. It offers your time, but only in exchange for theirs.

“Don’t go.” It assumes they have nothing – or no-one – better to do.

“Don’t go.” It says they’re wrong about wanting to leave.

“Don’t go.” That your desire – or need – or whim – trumps theirs.

“Don’t go.” It’s a confession, that there is more in your heart or mind than has come to light so far.

“Don’t go.” That their presence is better than absence.

“Don’t go.” That you don’t want them to leave.

“Don’t go.” That it hurts – maybe a little, maybe a lot – to think of them gone.

“Don’t go.” That the world is more grey and empty without them.

“Don’t go.” Or an aching, black void with fire at its heart, with no ladder to climb and no net to catch you as you fall.

Don’t go.

We haven’t finished.

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