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later she yelled at him. later
she shouted at him for not telling her,
she cried and slammed her door,
leaving him standing there in bewilderment.
he did tell her. he did. but
he told her in the language of time,
one of the only languages
that she, well-educated, did not understand.
if he'd told her in greek, french, spanish, italian --
she even understood a bit of turkish. a british or australian or
even russian accent would not have stopped her understanding.
but she had never been fluent in time.
later he told her she was wrong. later
he let her know that he had let her known
in the language of time,
and she stared in bewilderment.
she asked what on earth
he meant, said he had never said
a word. never talked in any language. their lack
of communication was part of the problem. he said
time. time is not out loud. one does not
speak time. but he is fluent, and he knows he is.
time's language is not spoken. it is the tolling of bells
at noon and at midnight, it is the tick of a watch face.
later she told him she should have known. later
he agreed. he knew that he had told her,
knew that he was in the right but
perhaps he should have spoken it as well.
you do not speak time, but time
speaks to you, and in listening,
one becomes fluent. he had told her
by listening. he had told her,
not with his actions, but with his thoughts,
with his glances at his watch
and his staring at the clock when
she was talking. she should have known.
later, she pointed out his true wrongdoing. later
she said that yes, she should have known, but
he should have known too. together for eight years,
and he should have known that she was never fluent in time.
he thought about it, and concluded that it was not
ultimately his fault. he remembered asking her once,
"what do you think time sounds like?" and she had responded,
"it is not what it sounds like, but whether we can understand it."
he took her at her word, her literal word,
not realizing how philosophial she was, this
analytical English major. literal words were, after all,
not her specialty. he hadn't realized that she had a thoughtful mind.
later, he told her. later
he explained it all, both his actions
and his thoughts. how he hadn't realized she was
"into" philosophy, how he hadn't realized she was thoughtful.
she seized, however, on what he hadn't:
the fact that if he'd realized that,
that she was philosophical and thoughtful and couldn't hear time,
it never would have happened