Fiction, Or “We Must Never Say The Word”

Sit down beside me. You do not have to say anything, and neither will I. As long as we do not talk about it, it does not exist. So, we must continue this way, never talking about it, never making it true. You do not feel it as long as you do not say it, and neither do I if I avoid saying it, too. We can stay this way, in the ambiguity forever, of me never knowing it, of you never saying it, but in the end, you will have said it a thousand times over, and I will have said it, too, only in a language only both of us ever knew. The world will not know about it, and why should it? This is a tête-à-tête, and we must be quiet and we must be soft. We must stick to the whispers, corners, and shadows.

We must only meet at parties and among people. We must only talk in glances. I will know what you mean, and you will know what I do, too. This is a given. It is the only given. I do not know many languages, but I am fluent in this one. And then, we must dance with others; we must dance with every person before we approach each other, so it seems as if nothing is amiss, nothing is at play. And then, we must behave; we must maintain decorum. The walls have ears, too. No one must hear us; we must talk in silence. You will smile and tell me how you feel. I will smile at you, and you, too, will know. But we must never say it. We must never utter the word. We must take the time we have, and then, we must part our ways as people part their ways. We should go on with our lives. We should marry other people, or not, but we must never utter the word or tell the story. It will never be real if we do not say it.

This fiction exists only in the imagination of two particularly stubborn people. You have kissed me a thousand times over, and I have held you countless times, too. We have done this from afar, and we have done this with finesse, with grace, and without anyone catching on. Now, it is time for me to leave. Now, it is time for you to go. Nothing was said, so nothing happened. As long as we uphold the vow and never talk about it, as long as we never say the word, it will never have existed. And yet, I will always remember you, and I hope you will remember me, too.


This piece was first seen on The Soaring Twenties Social Club (STSC) as part of an addendum to the Symposium on Fiction, the deadline for which passed me by like most love has passed me by: without my realisation, like a swift yet furtive cat, like a confession never uttered.