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Bang. A gun shot. Don’t worry, we’re in the country, they must be hunting. Hunting what?

The phone rings. You answer. Bang. Another gun shot, this time through the phone in the form of bad news. Your heart drops again. You hang up, wondering, what’s that Mat Kearney song? “I guess were all one phone call from our knees.”

Bang. Another gun shot, hours later. What’s he after? What am I after? What are we all hunting? Did that phone call stop my search or start it?

If today is a bad day, how do all the other days compare? What about the great days? What about those?

Bang. Not a gun shot anymore, just memories; coping, comparing the heart breaks: Your arm put in a cast on your eighth birthday. The crushed front bumper of your sports car. The end of something before it began. A false friend. An empty room.

A phone call. A gun shot. It’s really all the same.

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I don’t want it to be over. But it might be. I didn’t want it to be over before, but I thought it should be, so I let it end. But leaving early to avoid awkward silences doesn’t leave you, in the end, with anything more than what you’d have otherwise. I should’ve stayed. I should’ve asked questions. I should have been less afraid of awkward silences, because silence was all I was left with in the end.

I learned my lesson, though. I didn’t want that to happen again. I wouldn’t let it happen again. Sometimes you think you know what’ll happen in a given situation, but you never know. It’ll never be like that, like the way you saw it happen in your head. I know that now, although sometimes I forget. But I didn’t let it happen again, not really. It ended, but I refused that ending; I ended it again, and then again, like re-doing takes on a film set.

The first time, I walked out to my car and didn’t say goodbye. I got in my car, closed the door, and stopped. It could’ve ended there. I didn’t let it.

I went back, said goodbye. Then I went to leave again, I walked half-way to my car, but then I turned around and walked right back because I wasn’t happy with that take, either. It wasn’t going to end like that.

I walked back again, said hello, and refused the previous ending. I fixed it, I made it better. Everything has to end, but you can guide the ending. You don’t have to accept everything that happens to you without doing something about it. And while you can’t stop endings, you can make them be ok. You can make the silence that you’re left with in the end be ok.

1. If you can’t change something, be OK with it. If you can change it, don’t stop until you do.

2. Sometimes people say the wrong things. They don’t mean to – they also don’t mean to hurt you. Communication is hard. Keep trying.

3. If you love someone, tell them. The apocalypse didn’t happen – but that doesn’t mean you have all the time in the world.

4. All I want for Christmas is you! Oh, and a furby.

5. Don’t be hard-hearted. Don’t spread around more hate – the world already has enough.

6. Guys: Man bun. That is all. Also, don’t wear khakis. Also, get some of those cool work/combat/hipster boots. KTHXBAI.

7. If you don’t see yourself as worthwhile, no one else will, either. Everyone is worth something, if only they try to be. Stop whining, start doing.

8. It is good to be excited about things. More people should be excited about things. Get excited, it’s OK! Love stuff. Show your enthusiasm. Stop hiding yourself in yourself.

9. You don’t always need to fill the silence.

10. If you don’t want a person in your life anymore, don’t keep them in it. That’s easier said than done – but stop feeling guilty/selfish/mean for what you feel!

We sit in a circle and talk and say nothing. During the silent parts, we really say nothing. We have nothing to say to one another. I have nothing to say to you. She bows her head, pretending to read, or text, or check her email. He stares blankly at something – it doesn’t matter what. I watch all of this happen and I too say nothing. I do the same things. We all do the same things.

We talk about what other people have talked about. We translate other peoples’ words into our own and pretend they are important. Are they important? No, they’re not important. This guy is dead. Is it relevant? No, it’s not relevant. Why are we doing this? Why are we always doing this?

I try to force myself back into the hive mind but I can’t. I listen to what other people say but I don’t hear them. No one hears them. They can’t. They cannot. Tears well up in my eyes – why?

We laugh. We try so hard to come together and understand. We never will – not like this. Not in this way. We’re going about it all wrong. There are little moments where we feel it happening, but those fade away so quickly. We can’t keep them, so we keep talking. We speak nonsense. We don’t know what we’re saying. We just talk and say nothing. We can’t stop.

What I want to say to you does not exist in words. What we all want to say to each other does not exist in this world, in this place, in this society. We laugh and cry together and it means nothing.

It only happens in the silence. It only happens in our unspoken language. Those quiet times are our opportunities, but we don’t take them. We sit silently, silently. Waiting for someone to speak nothingness. We can’t. We cannot.