A Friend of few words

Thinking back on it now, she never really said much.

Not that she was shy, mind you.

She could wax eloquent on the things that mattered to her, and be knowledgeable enough and persuasive without being smug, condescending, or dismissive of a different view.

Truthfully, I don’t know how she managed it.

I did ask her once, though, why she didn’t speak up more.

“Silence stacks the deck in your favor.” she told me, but that was all she said, leaving me to puzzle it out.

So we sat in our overlong silences, drinking overpriced coffee, then going our overly lonely, separate ways.

Eventually, I got it: when encountered by someone who’s (overly) content to be quiet, people will pay more attention when they do finally say something, or they’ll reveal something about themselves to fill the silence.

I knew her when we were young, and when we pulled ourselves into mutual orbits, she gradually trained me to be more like her: quietly comfortable, and comfortably quiet. I don’t remember how or when the silences grew longer, only that they did.

When the orbital pull eventually weakened, I emerged from the eclipse of her shadow, and the words, my words, returned to me, albeit tempered.

They were seasoned, if not sage, with my own brand of pop wisdom and zodiacal frippery.

We’d grown from aligned planets to two different kinds of meteors; she’d make an impact in her world, and I’d do the same in mine, but never simultaneously.

Now, when I sit alone in this coffee place on rainy days, listening to the backwash of raindrops accompanied by a background of soft, classical strings, I feel her enigmatic smile on my own lips, and wonder what we’re thinking about now.

And who will be anointed to hear it.

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