The summer silenced me. I found myself gently guiding the words creeping up from the cellar of my brain, back down the rickety stairway to the depths from which they had come. Dark words, damp words, words full of sadness and tears, words which brought a lump to my throat as they almost reached the doorway to my page. As they started their ascent once more, those words had to be struggled with, overcome, and pushed far, far away or they would have scrambled out and stabbed me straight through the heart.
So I drowned them. I held them down hard and poured others’ words over their small, pale faces and hushed them all up for months. I inundated them with hundreds of words, thousands of words from the many, many books I ingurgitated day in, day out, week after week.
Happy words, funny words, words which brought a smile to my face and a chuckle from my lips. Sentences, paragraphs, chapters which kept my brain busy, thinking, searching for answers and following tight plots. English books, French books, any damn book, as long as the flow from the little black letters subdued the ones within, waiting to come up for air.
But my own words keep knocking. Let us out, they scream. You are allowed to be sad. Allowed to talk about us, about them. Allowed to have us drip onto your page whilst your tears drip onto your pillow. If you keep us down here we’ll only hurt you even more.
They won’t stop shouting, so I have let them out. They’re free at last to run across the expanse of whiteness and speak of my sorrow. They can breathe deeply now and fill the empty space that has been cut out of my days. They may once more sit by my side and hold my hand.
But they have been released only because the throat-grabbing pain of seeing my beloved fledglings fly from the nest is slowly abating. The bitter countdown to their departure has been replaced by the sweet countdown to their return. For I realise I can still see them, speak to them, laugh with them, even as I glimpse my own ageing face crinkle in delight inside the tiny square at the top of the screen. They have gone for now but they will return. Not forever, but for a while.
So welcome back, my dearest words. I have missed you. A lot. Almost as much as I miss my baby girls.