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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

prick up your ears

Originally uploaded by kristalynn.
my parents would always get negative reports from my elementary school teachers. they were concerned about my personal development because i never spoke. when this was relayed to me, in a we-fear-you-may-be-"special"-type tone, and i reassured my parents i would make an effort to, yes, speak more. but in my head i always wondered what the big deal was. i was learning everything, why did we all sit around and talk about it?

if you've ever talked to anybody who's talked to anybody, they'll tell you that anything that happened to you as a child affects you. so as i grew older, i made concerted, very concerted and self-conscious, efforts to speak more. what usually resulted was that i was spoken over, my joke fell flat or went over heads, or no one simply heard.

several years ago, i was working in new york and my boyfriend came to visit for the weekend. i was staying at a charming boutique hotel and he showed up at the door with a flower.

it rained the entire weekend. it rained like i have never seen rain. it was impossible to go out without getting drenched. i already was fighting off a cold, but somehow we managed to have a great time. and it remains one of the most memorable times i spent with him.

when the morning came for him to leave, i accompanied him to penn station. he told me to stay in to try to get better. i welcomed the opportunity to get out a bit; the rain, of course, was letting up.

we found his line and waited together.

"go," he said.

"no," i said.

we inched along, toward the guy who checks your documentation, the point after which non-travelers were not permitted. we kissed goodbye - i always missed him more after good times - and he passed into the security zone, on his way to another checkpoint.

i turned and walked away. off to buy some lozenges. but then thought that i had a few more seconds to see him. i turned back around and called out and waved to him. he didn't hear. a woman and her child with a balloon did.

i ran a little bit closer and tried again. all the criticism from school came flooding back: i wasn't loud enough.

i called out three times, each one louder than the last. none of them were ever heard. and i watched him walk down the platform with his luggage, without any knowledge of how much i didn’t want him to go, how much i loved him, and most of all, how much i wanted him to see me there smiling.

that day in penn station has plagued me since. i've spent years wondering what happened to my good byes that were sent out and that never reached their destination.

i learned this year, two days before christmas, that he would never have heard me, no matter how uncharacteristically loud i forced myself to be.


At January 08, 2008, Blogger Anne C. said...


At January 09, 2008, Anonymous lori said...

that was so beautifully said.

i hope you are doing o.k.

At January 09, 2008, Blogger jezsik said...

Wow. As I read, I saw the whole thing as a short B&W film ... worthy of Casablanca in every way.

At January 10, 2008, Blogger jim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At January 10, 2008, Blogger jim said...


At January 14, 2008, Blogger Kell said...

I'm glad you're still blogging. This was a good one!


At January 19, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, yes, new york, boyfriends

At January 24, 2008, Blogger Anne C. said...

When you don't update, I worry.

At January 26, 2008, Blogger vanou said...

You've been tagged.

At January 28, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to get you a ping pong paddle with a ping pong ball attached to it on a looonnng stretchy cord, and when people don't hear you, you can bonk them with the ball attached to the paddle.
Happy New Year,


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