Joined at the Hip
Dear Ice Bear,
Though you might find this letter as an expression of my affection, (and that much is true), I believe that the things I will say onward would lose their value if I leave my sincerity out the window. So, I hope you prepare yourself before continuing. There will be things that might sting you, but trust that I love you enough to know that you can take this with steadfastness.
Do you remember the weekend hangouts we used to have, back in college? You’d come over to my house, wearing only a plain t-shirt, cargo shorts, and slippers (because your house was only 10 minutes away). I remember you’d always have your red headphones on your ears, even when there was no music playing. You said it was a shield, a sign that you didn’t want anybody talking to you. We’d sit at our dining room (because it was much bigger than our living room, and our legs would get sticky from sitting on the leather couch for too long). You’d ask me how I’ve been, I’d tell you I’m fine. (I’d then tell you that I’m not fine once my mom is out of earshot.) I’d also ask you how you are, and you’d steer the conversation to somewhere else. Smiling while sighing—that was always my cue to give up (in the meantime) my search for your answer.
We’d watch a really good romcom movie where one of the leads is my namesake, or, when we were unfortunate enough, a really trashy romcom movie where the leads don’t really have any conflict going against them (how I wish we could say the same for our own lives). Afterwards, at around 4 o’clock, you’d come back outside to buy our snack that afternoon. Stir-fry noodles or chicken noodle soup were our staples. You’d return, plastic bag of food in your hands and beads of sweat on your forehead (how did we manage to eat something so hot in the middle of summer)? We’d eat like hungry school-kids during recess, wolfing down the noodles and slurping the soup with all our might. While we recover from mild food coma, I’d try to sneak my way into your mind once again. I’d tread lightly with my queries, slowly showing my curiosity for thoughts circling your head. Our conversation, like the weather, would get heated. In the end, I’d surrender, and a few unwelcome tears would flow out of frustration. Eventually, we’d hug and you’d say goodbye, and I’d tell you to have a safe motor taxi ride back home.
All of this rambling and reminiscing is to say that sometimes, I’d get frustrated with you. I’d look at you and imagine you’re wearing metaphorical read headphones—which meant you don’t want me talking, asking, digging. I’d get frustrated with the silence, the weight of so many unanswered questions hanging in the air. I’d get frustrated with the feeling that I can’t reach you, even when we’re sitting across from each other. I guess what I’m really frustrated about is feeling unwanted when you’re silent. For me, knowing is being loved. The not knowing haunts me like an unrequited love.
Still, in spite of all this, you are the one I find the most comfort in sharing silences with. Who said that silence means indifference? You not sharing doesn’t equate to you not loving. I know that you’re quiet because there is so much noise within yourself. I know that your silence doesn’t negate your love for me.
I know we’ll always be joined at the hip. (Is that what they say?) Take a look at yours and you might find mine glued to it. You are my soulmate. Is that alright with you? To have me as an unchanging, ever constant being existing in a world you call your life? I don’t know if our futures will be consumed by internal noise. I don’t know if you’ll still be wearing those metaphorical red headphones. I don’t know if I’ll stop having the urge to rip those off your ears. I don’t know if that once long silences come, I’ll be able to joke that a dozen angels might be walking hand-in-hand, passing by us. But trust me, I’d rather be nowhere but there, wearing a metaphorical watch as the angels walk, and we sit in silence.
Kirsten Sto. Domingo is a disabled writer from the Philippines. She mainly writes with themes such as nostalgia and memory. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Do Geese See God, Moonbow Magazine, Transients Magazine and Scarlet Dragonfly Journal. In her spare time, she enjoys watching sitcoms and reading fiction. You can read her poems on Instagram: @fromthepsyche