I detached myself from the wires, and the posts and the barrage
of blinking signals that distract my eye from what’s in front
of me; the pings of new mail, or comments or “likes.”
I sheltered myself in the deathly quiet of no cellphone service,
in the vast openness of all alone in somewhere new, in the stillness
of listening, to the wind, and the rivers and my heart beat.
I cocooned myself in the security of knowing the ones that matter
will always find me, the ones who care know where to look, the
ones I love will sense me out there in the nothingness.
I entrenched myself in the conviction that even if I don’t post about it,
take a picture, comment on it, it still happened and I will still
remember the smell of oceans and forests and mountains I have explored.
I have reveled in the knowledge that more e-friends doesn’t mean more
real friends. And that those who want to, will find a way to know you,
to speak to you, to remember you without a reminder
that it’s your birthday, or you’re “in a relationship” or “it’s complicated.”
Those who want to will be embracing you when you cry, or holding your hair
back when you’re sick, or throwing rose petals at your wedding.
The ones you meet, who are meant to stay, will be collecting glowing stars
of your success with you and will be knee deep in wheat fields, searching for
the bits of your heart that got lost when it broke to put it together again.
I have plunged into a sea of jibber-jabber, of words that, to me,
have no meaning, and I have learned them. And I have learned that
jibber-jabber is the stuff of strong relationships, connections, friendships.
I have learned that jibber-jabber on a screen is but a shadow, a whisper,
of what the real thing, whose sound waves reverberate off of your eardrum
like the bass at a concert, sounds like.
I have learned that “winky-face” and “kissy-face,” emojis are no replacement
for the warmth of a hug, and the tenderness of a kiss on the cheek, or
on the mouth, or the spark winding its way up your spine
when he winks at you from across the room and you see it. Experience in
reaction is no replacement for experience that is organic, without impetus
from another goading your reaction from a wifi connection.
When I stepped away from the wires, and the flashing lights,
and the status updates and the “likes,”
I relearned how to feel,
and to see
and to listen
and to express.
I relearned how to be human.