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Yellow

Least said easiest mended. That’s what my mother told me over and over as my unguarded tongue landed my unwilling body in yet another pot of hot water.

Better to err on the side of caution.

When in doubt, don’t.

Little aphorisms, oft repeated, lie buried inside me – dark and quiet – only to surface, like fossils, during emotional earthquakes or floods.

And so I sat today, lips pressed shut, afraid to anger people whose names I barely know and whose faces I might fail to recognize out of context. Sat mute in my folding chair, tacitly agreeing, while every fiber in me strained with dissent.

“If only my husband were here to back me up,” I fretted while my thoughts turned and churned around an idea, a protest, a gesture…anything to set myself apart from this group of kind, well-meaning people who nodded and smiled as a vile soup, slick and caustic, poured from one mouth to the next. “He’d know just what to say,” I assured myself, “without burning bridges or causing hurt.” Not like me. Too blunt, too direct, too much altogether — able to seize defeat from the jaws of victory with my temper and my tongue.

Unsure of how to proceed, I ached and seethed in silence. Ruffled no feathers. Disturbed no sacred cows.

Shifting in my seat, I glanced furtively for faces whose rigor matched my own, and finding none, stared entranced as the clock crawled inexorably on. A topic shift — banal, unobjectionable – and finally the finish. My mad scrabble for belongings was my only tell.

And so I fled, coward-like, racing through a gauntlet of pleasantries I couldn’t match. Friendly gazes seeking mine as if to confirm our solidarity. Eyes locked on the empty hallway, I willed them to recognize the gulf between their thoughts and mine. Was that me begging pardon as I pushed toward the door?

And now I sit, ashamed, numbering the family, friends and strangers I’ve wronged with silence today. Wondering how to make it up, or if the time has slipped through my nerveless fingers.

Least said might be easiest mended. But sometimes saying nothing can carve the deepest wounds of all.

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10 Responses

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  1. bells says

    What a powerful exploration of a difficult situation, Jodi. Wow. I don’t know what was going on but it doesn’t matter. It’s a difficult line to walk, I think – silence v speaking out. I don’t envy a moment like that.

  2. Jen says

    Beautifully written. I highly doubt I would have been able to exercise such restraint.

  3. Kate says

    Failing your own expectations of yourself can be so very painful – but look at all sides with honesty, talk it through with those important to you, accept that you made the best decision you could at the time, and figure out what you want to do should there be a next time.

  4. jodi says

    Good advice, Kate. I think it’s the only thing to do at this point. Somehow writing it out helped, too.

  5. stacy says

    Man! I had no idea you were suffering like that during the baby shower!

    Just kidding – I couldn’t resist based on the timing! Loved seeing you!

  6. jodi says

    Stacy — you are evil. The baby shower was a gift for me. An unexpected boon of good food, great mimosas and, best of all, girl chat. Definitely NOT the subject of the above.

  7. B says

    PTO meeting?? We need to catch up……..

  8. jodi says

    Bwahaha!! Are you kidding? Like I’ve ever been to one of those.

  9. angie says

    I loved this post… of course makes me curious about where you were… but it doesn’t matter, we’ve all been there. I’m like you, when I finally open my mouth, what comes out isn’t very tactful.

  10. Amy, your sister says

    Family curse! We speak the blunt, unvarnished truth. Sometimes we can soften the blow with smiles and an understanding tone but mostly we are just blunt and honest. NO ONE loves honesty much because it often hurts. It also brings about much needed change. Another familial saying worth remembering – the truth will stand when the world is on fire. If the subject in question really matters, stand up, tell them the truth, or better even – write it down for them, give them the facts they need to make the necessary changes, and then just stand and wait for the fire to die down.



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