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  • I struggle to find the right words to use when my brother is around. It sounds hollow to me, our shallow banter

    "So tell me what's up with...."

    I receive factual data in response. Struggling to be attentive, I am already thinking about the next question. Because if I don't, there will be silence. Awkward silence, at least for me.

    - Why ARE you here? I want to ask, but don't.

    - Why do we even bother, when we don't even *really* talk? I want to demand but won't.

    That line of questioning, while interesting, would undoubtedly be perceived as threatening, hostile even. I don't want that because then he might not come back, which would be heartbreaking. Or maybe I will get an answer I don't want to hear, which could also be heartbreaking. No, I'll accept that silence is the better option here.

    We always part with a hug. A good and real one. It is the two or three seconds of the two or three hours or days spent together in which I know things are all alright. That while our dynamics may not seem "normal" to others they are normal for us and that's enough. That I am truly glad he came and trust that he will again return, and that for reasons I don't completely understand, I need him to.

    Once he's physically gone the words flow out of me. In writing I am far more able to convey caring, ask real questions, feel connected. I cannot get my head around why this dynamic persists not just with him but with a few others too. Sometimes I will perseverate on it and at othertimes just roll my eyes, sigh, and thank God for e-mail.

    I asked my husband about his thoughts on all this and he quickly retorted "Because he's a guy, and that's the way we are. I don't get why women can't understand this. You all have to talk, talk, talk, dissect everything, all the time. God, it's so exhausting." With that he turned around and walked out of the room. Conversation over, evidently.

    I considered pursuing it further than decided not to. Perhaps some (more) silence was in order.

    I suppose within all relationships we stuggle to find that place we can all agree feels "normal." I don't know exactly where that is but I think that getting there might involve more silence than is sometimes comfortable for me. Through stumbling and bumbling, tripping over my own words, I've learned that dialogue - slicing and dicing, analysis ad nauseum - is often over rated and really is not always the best path forward. Not if a sense of quiet peace, serene silence, is the ultimate goal.

    There is truth in an embrace and generosity in silence if one can feel it, breathe it in. Shh, be quiet. Sit still. It's right there.
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