S. and I move about the cottage each feeling the other’s presence. We speak, or don’t: speech or silence, it’s all the same. When she goes out to the garden I can sense her absence even if I haven’t heard her leave. She tells me about a study which showed that when couples live together they begin to mirror each other physiologically. Their heart rates, breathing and brainwaves synchronize when they’re in each other’s presence, as when our footsteps fall in with those of the person we’re walking with.


Noise weighs on me now the way silence used to, even out here. The right words only come in stillness. When the pigeons aren’t cooing, the cat isn’t scratching something, customers aren’t knocking on the door for eggs, delivery vans aren’t rolling by to T.’s farm, S. isn’t clattering in the kitchen… then something takes hold that’s mine yet not mine. Words born of silence, returning to a kind of silent saying: strange route to what’s already here.


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