The Inadequacy of Words

Written with my Thursday night group using the prompts: no, nothing; tired of using words; so many reasons not to; teenager; rainfall; gratitude; advice; airplanes; ordinary people; noun deficient

Marie grew tired of using words.  It started during the pandemic when she decided out of boredom to clean out the closets.  It felt good to get rid of old t shirts she didn’t wear any more, some jeans that were too baggy, some that were too tight, baseball caps, frayed sneakers, high heeled dress shoes that pinched her toes, semi-formal skirts and beaded tops she couldn’t be bothered with.  Then she got rid of her husband, her sister-in-law, her old college roommate, and her high school.  In fact that’s when she decided to let go of her home town, the dorm room where she lost her virginity, the romantic trail by the lake where her former beloved had presented here with a diamond solitaire ring.  She let go of the sun and the rainfall and the pretty breeze that ripples the surface of the pond just before sunset when the light is pink in the western sky.  She felt free, but after all her relinquishments she was noun-deficient.

She wondered if she could live only with verbs, and truly, it was exciting. So much movement dancing running eating drinking swaying dreaming–but it was too much.  So many reasons to let it all go, the teenagers, the airplanes, flashy florescent neon signs, the ordinary people, platitudes, gratitude, advice, and a cappella quartets.

“No, nothing,” she told them all, and without words to label them, without words to serve as ballast, everything, every one of them, floated away.

Without words, without speech, without thought, without symbol, Marie communicates with flowers and colors and Hawaiian aloha shirts.  Gestures, winks, nods.  Some days she leaves the house with a large grocery sack filled with fruit and vegetables.  She gives Fuji apples to the smiling, friendly people, Pippins to the sourpusses, and sweet potatoes to the ones who look like they need a good long rest.  Other days she hands out coins or cookies or puppies.  It’s what she does now.  Because she can.  And because she wants to.  People think she is strange, but they are always happy to see her coming, even though they cannot explain why. 

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “The Inadequacy of Words

  1. Have we given up too much to this pandemic? Will we ever be able to take it back – all those noun/named things? Should we? You really captured the hollow feeling in me right now.

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