She forgot how to talk

woman sipping from cup
Photo by Wesley Carvalho on Pexels.com

She had never been much of a talker. But she couldn’t be a social recluse either, especially if she wanted that guy to acknowledge her presence. After being ignored a couple of times by the guy of her dreams, rather painfully, she realised, that wallflowers get noticed only in books and movies. Not in real life. She had to change. Not have a makeover, but she had to stop hiding. But how?

That had been in high school. Fast forward to her twenties, and she was the centre of attention of all parties. She won the class awards, and was so popular that there were guys clamouring for her attention and wanting to date her. She could literally take her pick. No, she hadn’t metamorphosed into a beautiful Butterly overnight, but she had figured out the art of making small talk. And looking interested. And listening. And touching. And laughing at the right places. And always being there, being present. It was hard work, but she made it look like it was second nature to her. She was a fake extrovert now. The social interactions tired her, but she loved the attention she got, and so she kept being fake and pretending to be everyone’e best friend, and the coolest girl to date.

But today, sitting with some of her husband’s friends, who had sort of become her friends too, watching the children trouble everyone else in the restaurant, she suddenly realised, she had forgotten how to talk! The realisation hit her hard. But the change hadn’t been as sudden as the realisation. She knew she was changing, and going back to being the social recluse that she was. She knew she could still be the social butterfly using her skills that she had painfully cultivated in her younger years, but now, she was truly exhausted. She had known since her daughter had been born, that she needed to stop channeling her finite energy in pleasing people and being fake, and try and focus on herself instead. She had forgotten how to please the one person who was important to her. In learning how to please others and learning how to talk, in all of those years, she had forgotten how to talk to herself, her soul.

Her husband had been the first one to notice. Their marriage had lost its spark, but they were together because of many other reasons. It was due to no fault of his, she had realised one day. He had married the popular, cheerful, talkative, life of the party. But since the last three years, she had become quieter, buried in her own world, in her books, in her writing. They would still have a few good conversations, but she had no interest in socialising anymore. She had a handful of friends now, and most people avoided talking to her in parties. She was happy to forget how to talk to others. It was such a peaceful thing, not having to talk just for the sake of talking.

She smiled, as she heard all the noise, all the chattering around her in that crowded restaurant on that sunny, winter, Sunday afternoon. She zoned out, making the sounds turn into a sort of white noise. She had a sip of her drink, and hummed along to the song, Wonderwall, that no one else had heard. She loved that she had forgotten to talk now.

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