- Vol. 09
- Chapter 07
It was a summer spent on my wits. Following my gut. Complying to instructions I understood on some intuitive level, even when I couldn’t comprehend literally.
When I first applied to study abroad, they assured me I didn’t need to know the language. That I’d pick it up. And I suppose I did, though not in the way I expected.
Even now, on the other side of those three magical months, I can barely speak a word. But I can read a little, and know enough to be able to tell where to nod and smile in the right places, and be grateful that such a high percentage of human communication is non-verbal.
I told my mother about falling in love in a different language and she stared at me, uncomprehending. She wanted to know how I could trust anything when there were no words, but without words, there’s nothing but trust.
My love spoke to me of her childhood in sentences I couldn’t hope to relay, but I saw the tears in her eyes––sometimes joy, sometimes regret––and I could follow along with the parts that mattered.
And that final morning when I left her bed, having scrawled my details on a postcard to leave on her pillow, I trusted we’d get by without further explanation. That she’d find her way to follow my footsteps, track me down on the other side of the world, where we’d fall in love all over again, with my summer in her winter, and all language barriers reversed.