Unspoken

 

He never said I love you.

Instead, he said don’t forget your coat, and drive carefully and when will you be back.

He never said I love you.

Instead, he made her tea with just the right amount of milk, and remembered her birthday, and always switched the television on, to warm up.

Over the years, even when she asked, he never said I love you.

Instead, he said don’t be silly and you know I do and of course.

The words were trapped. Awkward and stubborn and shy. He tried to coax them from their hiding place, but they gripped the sides of his heart and refused to leave, and so he held them for a lifetime, unsure of their place.

But now. Now the words spill from his mouth. They fall with ease onto granite and lichen. They charge into the quiet of an empty churchyard, and they echo on the walls as he climbs the stairs alone.

I love you

Now they fall from his heart as effortlessly as they had from hers, untied by the silence of loss.

And he listens in the darkness of an empty life, to hear the words back.

I know you do.

11 Comments

  1. March 15, 2014 / 8:38 pm

    Oh that’s so sad, but true for a whole generation of men I suspect!

  2. Fiona Quint
    March 16, 2014 / 8:25 am

    So very sad. I guess so many men, even now, can’t say these important words.

  3. March 16, 2014 / 9:09 am

    Absolutely marvellous, Jo. You really do have the soul of a poet, intertwined with the quiet grace of the prose storyteller.

  4. Keating Lockhart
    March 18, 2014 / 4:02 am

    So lovely.

  5. April 10, 2014 / 4:56 pm

    That’s so true, sometimes the best loves come as favourite drinks or warmed up TVs.

  6. October 28, 2014 / 6:27 am

    A very beautiful thing to read. This, in particular, is so finely written:
    “The words were trapped. Awkward and stubborn and shy. He tried to coax them from their hiding place, but they gripped the sides of his heart and refused to leave, and so he held them for a lifetime, unsure of their place.”
    (I found you via Mary-Colleen’s ‘Along The Branches’ blog.)

  7. March 27, 2016 / 6:31 pm

    Very moving and does ring so true of so many but I think the love in action and the tea just right sounds so caring.

  8. mary ryan
    July 11, 2016 / 11:45 pm

    This story is just so touching & true. it brought a tear to my eye.I love your blogs just full of humanity & caring for other people.Read your book got great laughs but so sad too .Best of luck with the next book 😄

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