1.30.2003

I remember mute days.

It was a long time with no voice and only hands, smiles, tears to say what a difficult day I'd had. The other kids in the neighborhood would have little to do with me and I spent much of my time alone. From my secret vantage point behind the couch, my teddy bear and I learned all there was to know about the Days of Our Lives.

Trouble came from time-to-time (I distinctly remember once, after his worst day ever, the day it became clear to him that he must find a new job soon or suffer unemployment, that I pushed my dad too far and he hit me square in the face and I bled and I cried) but mostly these were good times. A sunny day was all the communication I needed.

I could hide in the cornfield with my He-Man figure.

I could climb the first two branches of the big tree and watch the tassels on the corn sway in the light breezes of the plains.

I could lay on my stomach in the basement, resting my head on my hands while the classic sounds of Motown, Apple, RCA, Decca, and Capitol jumped off the grooves of scratchy 45s.

My hair was so light it glowed in the dark. I was a Vikings fan, because I lived in Minnesota. It was as simple as that.

And though I was not liked, I was tolerated by the neighborhood kids. Sometimes my sisters would bring me with on their adventures. Sometimes I had no such luck. But I never needed to say anything about it.

When I moved, I left all that behind. In this new place, people asked questions. They wanted to know.

I found a voice, and I spoke. It felt good to relieve myself of the images burdening me, no matter how idyllic they might be.

But these words were inexact, approximations, only teals where I wanted blues. People misunderstood. People laughed.

It's too late to go back, but I long for the day when it is once again okay to remain silent and be taken completely at face value.

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