My brain has a new curfew. It’s not allowed to make words past 7 pm. This is to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings between me and my beloved, who keeps telling me I don’t make sense when in fact I know I am making perfect sense. We cannot both be right. My brain must abdicate and I must learn to live with it. But this is a hard, hard thing for some one who grew up thinking that to be Right was to be Good, and to be Good meant being worthy of being alive.
Ergo, to give up being Right feels a little like death. Or the imminent prospect of death, to come perhaps with a swift silent blow in the darkness as I sleep, or with a yawning bathtub drain that opens to swallow me into wet darkness while I shower away my dreams, or perhaps as a knife-beaked silver bird emerging from my morning’s egg to carve my throat into scarlet ribbons.
Some days the words do not come. I sit in stifled silence, my brain no longer on speaking terms with my mouth. My mouth, hungry thing that it is, demands words! But my brain does not obey. Or, if it does, it metes them out slowly, slyly, doling them out like precious jewels. Except these jewels are all mixed up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter in the summer swelter.
And the Queen must have her crown.
Communication is a funny thing. “It’s the one hundred percent responsibility of the speaker,” he says, “to make sure they are understood.” But he also says, “If you don’t understand what someone says, it’s your one hundred percent responsibility to make sure you do.”
Surely they both can’t be right. [Yes they can! And stop calling me Shirley!]
And the band marches on.