Letters by Kenny Mah

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A home shouldn’t be silent

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May 30, 2008

Hey you,

A house is not quite a home, no guarantee of it. Our hostess greets us from a minor mansion, it seems. Impeccable hospitality. Gregarious guests furiously snapping away at the delicious dishes, lovingly and patiently prepared for our appetites and our amusements.

This house, indeed is a home.

When it’s time to leave, we make beg for invitations to return. It’s a polite thing to say, but true. You can feel the love that built this home, from the feature walls painstakingly painted in bold vermilion, to the rows of rose bushes the host planted for his wife, so she may pluck a fresh bloom every morning when she wakes.

Love makes a home.

I come home, to our apartment now. You’ve woken up from your rest. We’re both tired. Tongues are tried, are tiresome. We say things we don’t mean. By bedtime, we sleep facing away from each other. There’s so much to say but we seem say too few, and all of these, too sharply.

Why do we always hurt the ones we love?, I wonder, as sleep claims me. Doesn’t anything change?

The next morning is awkward. We shower and perform our ablutions with few words. I turn the hot water tap a couple of turns too many and it scalds me, almost. A small wince, but you notice it. You touch me, caress the burn, kiss it. I smile, and you smile back.

Nothing changes, except something does. I don’t have to understand your silences, so long as I get to be with you when you lose your words. The difference, the change I now see, simply is I understand I don’t have to replace those words you lose. You don’t have to say a single thing. Nor do I.

We just have to be us, in our home. We just have to keep building it together, one brick, one day at a time.

Yours always and always,

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