Silence

Living so far away from so many of the people I love means only seeing them in bursts. It’s all at once and then nothing for a long time. Often this means seeing each other in fleeting, borrowed days and in doing so you miss things. Because when someone is far away, the things you miss about them aren’t necessarily the same things you do in a jam-packed weekend together.
My parents came to visit for ten days over Easter. They were here for long enough this time that we went slow. Mum and I spent a day pottering in our garden. She stole succulents on her walk over from their nearby Air B&B and we carefully arranged them between the existing plants. On another day, dad and I went to a frame shop and he helped me pick out frames. He carefully helped me mount my prints behind glass and then put them up on our walls.

My friend Beth was here for a week during Comedy Festival. We saw a lot of comedy. We made a lot of snapchat videos. We climbed the State Library Dome, each walking up a different staircase and went to the park to see the fountain turn gold in the sunset.
Mostly though, the thing I did with both my parents and with Beth was talk. I talk to each of them, all the time. I text mum and dad and ring them at least once a week. I call them when the car breaks down and when I can’t remember how to cook something and when I’m on a tram without a book. I message Beth every day. Often she is the last person (except my boyfriend) who I talk to before I go to sleep. I complain to her and tell her secrets and send her photos of me brushing my teeth.

But none of these things are the same as talking with faces. Technology is great, being able to be in touch every day is great. But, it’s still so far from physically being together. I think, maybe, the problem is that technology has no place for silence. Silence on a phone call is rarely comforting. Silence in online messages is, at worst, alarming.
Silence in real life, with faces, is lovely. It’s intimate and comfortable. Even awkward silence is such a powerfully human thing. It takes such a connection to be able to just sit with someone and say nothing.
Maybe it’s strange to say that the thing I miss most when the people I love are far away is their silence. But I think maybe that’s true. 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year