U.S. National Archives

If you speak to someone, after a long silence. Say it has been days, two or three days, since someone has spoken to you. To experience poverty of that sort. Where words are no longer even given to you.

You are living in a hostel in a strange city, say — and oh, why am I saying “you”? It’s me; it’s me that this is happening to. Anyway, you are living in a hostel in a strange city. You have not spoken to anyone for days, such is your shyness.

But a stranger comes up to you. He is Norwegian. He has a false hipster mustache. But he comes up to you and says, “Hey, can I use your lighter.”

Hey. Can I use. Your lighter. You have not spoken to anyone for so long, such is the strangeness of your situation. Days and days. Hang on to the words. Their tenses. Their conjugations.

If someone speaks to you, after a period of long silence, it will lead you back into human life. It is like staring out a window, when you are lonely. At first you are just staring for no reason. But then you see the cars, the people walking to and fro. You see children walking home from school. People walking their pets. And suddenly, against your will, you are drawn into the thick of it all. You stand with your hand hanging by the curtain, and against it all, watching their steps, watching the people walk, you are drawn by abstraction. Back into human life. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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