It is the beginning of a new week. Schools are going back. Folk are heading off to work, etcetera.
That word sounds so good in its entire fulsome length, like tinkling water over river stones, although we rarely see it written thus. In our hurrying lives, there are many words we shorten and cut off so that they no longer bend around corners or form a splendid arcing bridge over a blank space. Sometimes the shortening is necessary, poetic even and I am the first to employ such a technique should it be required or just for fun, using a different tone, or note, or key or octave according to what I want to convey. And, of course, words sound different again in different mouths, and different again according to the tone of a voice.
In those bad moods of my past life, I could make it very clear how I felt. I could thump down dishes, slam cupboard doors, bark at the dog, consider extra mustar
d hidden beneath the ham in a husbands sandwich, and yet, if challenged with a ‘What’s wrong with YOU?’ (delivered in B sharp, if I remember correctly) I would rise, pink-faced and steaming.
‘I’M FINE!’ I hissed, confusing the whole room and loosening my own teeth.
I look back on such times with a snigger, although I never do the sniggering thing if I observe a similar lack of congruence today. No, I feel compassion, because I know how it is to be so utterly miserable about something and to have nobody to tell who won’t bring out their Fixit Kit and start unscrewing my breastplate. Nowadays, should a lurking bad mood ensnare me on waking, I no longer yell that I am fine, but that I am NOT ONE BIT FINE, and that is FINE by me! And..I will sort out my own breastplate thank you very much.
It is also possible, I have found, to add tone to a text message – that is, giving ‘sound’ to ‘silence’. I can uplift you or take your head off, with one digit. I can be a thousand miles away so you absolutely cannot hear me, and yet I can bring this sound into your shell-like and change your whole day. You can ‘hear’ my tone, even though you cannot.
If I have something to say that is contentious, or aggressive, or even just interfering, I should never write it down. In a perfect world I wouldn’t even speak it out, not to you, not to anyone. In fact, in a perfect world, I wouldn’t even want to, because my heart would be right, not just my intentions, and if those two are not working together there in no congruence. How often have I heard clearly, from someone’s tone what they wanted me to hear, and then been told I imagined it? That their intentions were good? Sounds like me, back in the Days of Grump as I broke up the morning for everyone else and denied I had anything to do with the inevitable capsize.
I am saying one thing with my tongue, another with the rest of me, and the result is mayhem. Nobody knows what to do or where to look. Families are controlled this way relationships too. I know, I did it.
So now, in yelling out that I am NOT FINE might be noisy and may unsettle the dog, but at least it is honest. Sometimes I think the hardest struggle we ever have to face is that we are human and therefore fallible. We are also magnificently assembled creatures of intelligence. One has a lovely sweet taste, the other, bitter. But we are both and if we can learn to accept and cherish the bitter and the sweet, we may be hoarse, but we will be free.