the playwright


You tell me you were nineteen when you realized that everything won’t always be okay. Empty voices hum along to the hollow tune of the dripping sink, and everyone can taste the gravity that exists between what we meant and what we tried to say. It hurts to stand still, it hurts to move, and it hurts to know that they’re only talking because they’re terrified of the silence.

It hurts to watch his eyes grow huge behind the tears that turn his face wet and messy, and it feels like flying to watch him let go and swallow hard and run. No one is listening when he counts his scars and announces that his heart can beat faster than anyone’s ever has before, his chest expanding with the false comfort of believing that he is the only one.

For ten slow seconds, everything is weightless. The sky is still as it listens to the earth’s steady breathing, remembering that it, too, used to be able breathe on its own. The moon closes its eyes, waiting for the clouds to realize what they have lost, and when the memory comes, it makes the whole universe tremble.

Fingers dance an unmapped path through the air, twisting an invisible red string around and around and around, weaving an impossibly tangled web that catches nothing but empty space. The piano keys are cold, and the unfamiliar voice on the other end of the phone sounds far too small to be saying something so heavy.

Your face breaks into a smile—she’s talking in her sleep again. The flashlight is shaky in the darkness, and what everyone forgets to remember is that the son of God himself felt how much it hurts to be indescribably, hopelessly human, and he wept.

Being poetic is alright sometimes, but being honest is much better, peeling away layers of elaborate metaphor until truth is left uncertain and alone in the spotlight.

The stadium is dark and quiet. The playwright peeks between the curtains, watching the cast wait with joined hands for a standing ovation, but they stand there forever, and the applause never comes.


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