I sat at KFC looking through the window to see if I’d recognise him but that exercise only ended with me looking back and forth at random people passing through, as a result, I didn’t see him when he walked in and I’m honestly not sure how he recognised me.

That moment when our eyes locked was extremely anticlimactic, I had expected some deep connection pull but I felt absolutely nothing, not very dissimilar to the night before when my mom came home with snacks and said we needed to “talk”.

In hindsight, that night should have been monumental, it should have undone my preteen world but the news was no more than any other fact of life that could not be denied or disputed. 

Oddly enough, I’d never thought about the paternal side of my parentage before that night and maybe that explains why learning of my father and the subsequent first meeting was so uneventful.

My sense of worth was nothing to write home about long before I knew of him but the life that ensued after him completely destroyed whatever iota of it was stubborn enough to stick around.

I could reason that he didn’t know me before, that my existence was no more than a hypothetical he could theorise.  

But then he met me, surely the skin, blood & bones that replicated his own should have certified me enough, enough for him to pick up my calls. Enough that he’d want to bridge the space & speak the silence into repeal.

Nayyirah Waheed – Salt

It’s been well over a decade since I was that girl who longed to have her calls answered but I could still tell you what that silence tastes like, what form its nothingness takes when placed on hands that know nothing but absence.

This is the unconscious definition that “space” has adopted in my vocabulary, it’s both the hollow feeling of not enough & the burdensome weight of being way too much.

My response to it has been to wear the hardness of a heart that can neither touch or be touched & call it strength. To boast in hands that can hammer through emergency exits & take joy in swift feet that have made a sport of walking away.

Tell your eyes often enough that there is no worth in the mingling of souls & they’ll soon go blind to the value of being seen.

I’m learning how to sit & watch the nothingness of space morph into insecurity & refuse to call it rejection. To listen hard enough to hear the heartbeat on the other end of a relationship & let its rhythms define the terms of the space it seeks & allow silence to form part of the melodious symphony it orchestrates.

I’m prepared to let my heart break, to anchor my feet long enough that if & when it does, my hands will collect its pieces & bring them to the One who can be touched by the feelings of our infirmities. 

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