My words would form pale clouds of smoke like cigarettes, becoming tangible in the cold evening air before me, the only physical embodiment of everything I said. No matter the content of my speech; sadness, secrets, lies, or truth, always the same white haze, hanging for a moment and then disappearing, forgotten. Scattered across my brain like clothes on my bedroom floor, I would gather my thoughts together, hold them out in front of you, my greatest offering, and that was all they came to, the sum of all I truly owned, the universe’s only acknowledgment of it all.
It had sounded so clear in my head, like I really thought it meant something, like words actually mattered, until the moment they left my body;
Nothing mattered anymore. Nothing was clear.
And then it hit me all at once, a sudden realization, an epiphany of sorts, enough to knock the wind out of me. Our whole lives are dedicated to language, to making everything up to be important, all in some desperate and futile attempt to deny our own nothingness, like trying to catch smoke with our bare hands, and all the while you watch on, heartbreakingly indifferent to our sad and sorry plight.
I thought about it for a while, in those quiet moments waiting for sleep to meet my troubled mind and coincide. Words are our greatest power as human beings, the only thing that we have and no other creature does, they set us apart, so, of course we like to show off. Our very own exquisitely crafted instruments of change, spreading ideas, articulating thoughts and feelings, of opening people’s eyes. Such beauty in clever craftsmanship, but not now, not now. They were nothing more than silly little words. Oh, the inadequacy of language! Try as I might, I faced you with everything I had, putting it all out there, but I couldn’t move you; not like I could with others. It didn’t matter what I said, all I had the ability to produce now was the same white cloud of hazy smoke, always the same, hanging and disappearing, hanging and disappearing, there and then gone, forgotten, unheard, falling on deaf ears like it was never even there in the first place.
It was enough to make me scream and shout and stomp my feet, anything to get some sort of response from you other than cold indifference. Like,
“LOOK! I’M HERE! I EXIST! I’M SIGNIFICANT! Aren’t I? Aren’t I? Give me attention, just give me something, anything, I don’t care. Just something. Are you even listening? Are you? Are you???”
It didn’t matter what I did,
and I collapsed, defeated.
they all meant so little.