Frankly Told: Love Speaks

The room was deadly silent, every soul in it hung up on every single word that left his lips like they were breathing them in like oxygen. The nervous chills had long left his knees and fingers and his sentences flowed so well it felt like an out of body experience.

Every so often he would crack a joke and the crowd would roar into laughter and clapping. He found himself warming up to his own humour and chuckling a little before reminding himself that a good joke teller doesn’t laugh at his own jokes. Every face in the crowd was glowing with the happiness he had hoped for since the day he put the last draft into motion for the talk.

For months on end, he wondered why he was called to talk about that particular topic and hated the timing, even if the idea found him at a perfect time. Everyone in his friend circle had reached out to wish him the best and as he looked into the lenses of the cameras that swivelled about above his head to capture his best angles, he hoped they would be watching his live broadcast.

As he went on to the final segment of his half-hour, his heart broke a little in his chest. Never in his wildest dreams did he think that as he wrote the segment, he would have to tell himself the very words he wrote for others. He gave one sweeping look over the crowd and took in a deep breath, holding on to a smile that had since gone stale. He felt himself slightly falter but tried to hold it together. He thought, what good was it, to have spent nearly one and a half years in preparation for this just fail to get to the end.

“But then comes heartbreak,” he started. “ As a wrote this piece, I began to wonder what the higher-ups would say when they found out that I added this little part that I hid in my drafts to shock them on the day of. Would I be hauled off the stage and arrested? And if so, how much time do I have before the big men come so I can run these words to the end like a political rally?”

Daktari, I hope you will have me back,” he joked and one of the old men in the front row in a fit of laughter nodded vigorously.

“I often find, when we talk about love, we romanticize everything about it,” he continued. “This is of course not to discredit what I have spent the better part of this half-hour speaking on. I mean if that is the case, wouldn’t I have been wasting your time? I just wish that every time someone spoke to me about it, they slapped me with a little bit of reality. So, here I am to give you that slap of reality.”

He paced two steps to the side, scheming through the crowd and picked out one young lady with his hand pointed vaguely towards her.

“Young lady,” he spoke to her. “Yes, you. Not your friend. You, in black. What is your name?”

“Janet,” she projected her shaking voice to the stage.

“Good. Janet,” he noted. “I hope you are enjoying the journey with me until now.”

She nodded hesitantly. Unsure as to where the conversation was heading.

“Well, Janet,” he edged on. “I purpose to make your seat a little hot today. I know you weren’t expecting it but now you are in the spotlight. I want you to answer a simple question for me.”

He held her very sanity in the palm of his hand for a moment and could only smile comfortingly at her face that had since matched a beetroot in colour. Her friends chuckled at how nervous it made her and from where he stood he could tell she was tipping to a nervous breakdown so he cut to the chase.

“What is heartbreak to you?” he asked. “What does it mean to you?”

She thought for a minute before shooting back.

“Betrayal!” she exclaimed.

“Betrayal,” he echoed. “Okay, okay. That is true. That is true. And I- give her a round of applause for that. That is a good answer. Betrayal.”

The room slowly became littered with short clusters of claps for a little while which died the same way they began.

“I too thought the same,” he looked around to the seats in the gallery. “I felt the same for a long time. However, the longer I sat with that feeling I wondered, what was being betrayed? What would an ex-lover be convicted of if heartbreak was criminal?”

He took a beat and collectively the room held their breath as if they all feared being the next victim to some philosophical question. He artistically moulded the tensions in the room in his favour as his took his sweet time with every word he spoke.

“I realised,” he answered. “Nothing.”

“Now don’t get me wrong,” he quickly patched up. “This isn’t with relation to the lovers that break up on bounds of infidelity or something to that extreme. Rather this is for the relationships that meet their natural and unfortunate end.”

“See, there are many ways we can come to blame all the fallout and all the aftermath of our broken heart on the other person,” he pondered. “Wasn’t this person “our person” before things fell apart? What happened to the care and love that grew with you?”

“I believe that love remains when heartbreak takes away everything else,” he smiled briefly as he saw heads nod slowly.

“Still, what is heartbreak?” he caught and held eye contact at three-second intervals with each audience member he could find with his eyes.

“Heartbreak, is the end of a chapter to a story we enjoy writing. Heartbreak is the full stop in the sentence that is learning to love. Heartbreak is the lows to the highs that are being loved,” he walked in time with every word.

“Heartbreak is an open door to loving yourself a little bit more.”

As those words left his lips, their eyes locked. His heart fluttered a little bit like the fire once put out regained strength.

“Heartbreak is the silence, in which love speaks through actions. As simple as keeping promises.”

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Frankhie Muthumbi

Frankhie Muthumbi

Perfectly Imperfect || Human, Alexithymiac Poet, Writer, Musician