We don’t. We communicate in garbled languages, in words typed and misconstrued behind keyboards and screens. We text what we mean and then we erase it. And we write what we think we should say, what the world wants us to.
We don’t open our hearts and mouths and let the words pour out of us, liquid and flowing and honest. Instead we hold them in. We bottle them up. We hide them behind fake smiles and quick glances and lines of bullsh*t that we can’t even decipher for ourselves.
This is how we speak now: In Tinder messages and 140 character Tweets. In Facebook posts of song lyrics that we hope reflect the deepest aches in our hearts. We cry out to the world, but really reaching for that one person. And we’re always left with empty likes, still wondering if they hear us, aren’t we?
Instead of talking face-to-face, we Facetime. We pick up the phone and speak through static. Through the dial tones, where we wait. Pause. Hang up on the second ring.
We don’t watch the expressions on people’s faces. We don’t read the truth in their eyes. Instead we subtweet. Type. Text. Click. Hope that somewhere in that mess the other person will understand that our heart is breaking, miles and characters and Wi-Fi connections away.
This is how we speak now: we say half-truths hoping someone else will understand what we mean. We don’t say what’s on our mind because we’re afraid of the sound our own voice will make. We hide behind our clothes, our Instagram selfies and perfectly modified captions. And we tell the world what it’s looking for. That we are fine. That we are happy. That our hearts don’t know the feel of breaking and we aren’t terrified of the words that echo in our heads as we lay them down on our pillows.
We don’t speak anymore. Instead we hide. Instead we disguise. Instead we sing ourselves to sleep with the melodies of our unspoken apologies.
And we wait, wishing to one day be understood.