Spoken words

My tongue felt bruised from too much talk, though I couldn’t recall the last time I spoke. I wasn’t sure I remembered how. From outside my door, I heard a can roll down the throat of the Coke machine. If there were a language in me, that was probably it: the awful speech of a soda can, clunky and agitated.

That was some especially  lonesome thinking, I thought. I’m sorry to say that all my words felt lonesome to me, especially the out-loud and dressed-for-dinner words, like ‘hello’ or ‘my name is–‘.

I tried on a couple of those words, and they felt tight around my chest: “Good morning,” I said to the bathroom mirror, which was greasy and unflattering. The glass saw my lips move, and my ears felt the vibration of those words, but it seemed pretend, like I hadn’t spoken at all. My throat was dry, and I wanted a glass of whiskey or a cup of coffee. Or maybe a can of Coca-Cola. But mostly just the whiskey.

I didn’t expect to see the sunshine again, but there it was, hanging from the edge of the curtain. I let it fall onto my fingers and across my palms like wash water. I waited for the outside voices to move along so I could go outside and see the sun in person, but I waited until it was almost gone.


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