I need you in the abstract.

I write to be understood. Hear me. See me. Need me.

“Who do you think you are? I asked. The hero of your own existence? You shrank into yourself. You pulled your head in like a little turtle. Tell me, I said, I’d really like to know. What is it like to be you? Two nights before your mother died I sat down to write her a letter. Me, who hates writing letters, who would rather pick up the phone to say my piece. A letter lacks volume, and I am a man who relies on volume to make myself understood.”

I am a woman who relies on words to be understood. I rely on particularities. I am particular. And I want to be particular with you.

“…I refused, and soon afterward brought things to an end and returned alone to my life. And what of it, Your honor? What of my life? You see, I thought—One has to make a sacrifice. I chose the freedom of long unscheduled afternoons in which nothing happens but the slightest shift in mood as captured in a semicolon…What I’m trying to say is that it seems to me you can’t have it both ways. So I made a sacrifice, and let go.”

I made a sacrifice, and let go. But to my riddles, to the silence cradling my words. I’m a liar who lies. I cannot control the truth. But I made a sacrifice, and let go. I forced up words when there were no words to be had. I sat in my corner and cried about the lack of air the days had supplied while you had been locked inside your own self. Through my slow suffocation, I admitted truths and vulnerability and sadness.

“One of us had loved the other more perfectly, had watched the other more closely, and one of us listened and the other hadn’t, and one of us held on to the ambition of the one idea far longer than was reasonable, whereas the other, passing a garbage can one night, had casually thrown it away.”

I throw things away when I am overwhelmed. I cannot pride myself on my ability to invest or commit. I have yet to develop that bravery. And when I speak it out loud, I’m ashamed that I need you to hear me. See me. I need you to see me. Understand when the thoughts migrate off of the page unable to form words. Understand when my breath catches for days, folds up into my stomach and heart, making each organ heavy and sick. Understand when I’ve sunk into a hole. A hole lined with fear, sleeplessness, irritation. A hole where words will never find their place. A hole where reason has been halted and an incessant pounding takes over, right above my ears. Agitation and loneliness force ink to run out, and all I can do is wait for the sun to come back. I’ll need you, not to pull me out of the paragraph-less hole, but to send me apples and pillows.

“And as we spoke a picture of myself emerged and developed, reacting to S’s hurt like a Polaroid reacting to heat, a picture of myself to hang on the wall next to the one I’d already been living with for months—the one of someone who made use of the pain of others for her own ends, who, while others suffered, starved, and were tormented, hid herself safely away and prided herself on her special perceptiveness and sensitivity to the symmetry buried below things.”

I get lost in the symmetry buried below myself. Because sometimes I am selfish. When I scrunch my eyes, stretch my neck, throw my arms overhead, and hope the slight movements will relieve the neverending tension. Rubbing the bridge of my nose in case inspiration is hiding up there. I need you in the abstract. As a whisper. A reminder of connection. To understand me without words. Because sometimes words won’t be there. Sometimes words will be barricaded just outside of my fingertips’s reach. And I’ll need you, shamelessly, to see me through silence. To hear me even when sentences can’t be formed.


:: Quotations found in Great House by Nicole Krauss ::