The Retreat Of The Word Love

 In Short Stories

Once upon a time there was a very important word.

This word had grown afraid of showing itself, because more and more, it felt itself misunderstood. It hid, because the misinterpretations it felt people had of it, allowed them to use it too often and in the wrong way. This made the word feel like it was getting smaller and smaller; trapped in people’s minds and mistaken meanings.

It longed to experience all of itself. And so it pulled itself out of language, as if it had never existed. It thought, that in this way it could experience itself in its totality, without the restrictions of being used in error or gratuitously or lightly.

Initially this retreat from language felt wonderful to the word. It spent seemingly infinite moments experiencing itself; just feeling the expanse of its full feeling and meaning, which through this retreat seemed to deepen and widen. It was wonderful!
However, after the blissful experience of expanse, it came to feel empty and even bored; nothing really happened and the word came to feel lonely.

Meanwhile, people had been coping with the loss of this word in their language. They didn’t quite realise what it was that was missing, because it was no longer there. And when there was an impulse or longing to share, to profess, to create something with others, they found themselves suddenly unable to express these urges in language.

One could observe people in the street; at a loss for words; trying to say what they felt and convey some kind of meaning to others, but somehow something was missing. The result of this was that people found other ways to express, profess, create and share; they expressed through their eyes, professed through their hands, shared through poetry and created through touch, song and music. Whatever had been missing through the retreat of the word, re-emerged in other new ways.

The word in retreat noticed all this, just at the point its loneliness made it want to return. Now it felt that maybe, it was no longer needed. Especially now, when it had deepened its own meaning, it despaired of actually being able to share this with the world. If they hadn’t known how to really understand it before, how would they ever be able to understand now?

Tentatively and with great trepidation though, it re-entered the language. The word started to be used again and was heralded as a word ‘all new’; defining exactly the newly emerging experience people in the world had been having. To anyone who felt the word on their lips or who heard the word spoken, it seemed to bring such grace of the new, while at the same time bringing with it a deep familiarity of something known before.

The word realised then, that even though it had retreated, its meaning had remained in the world and that therefore…. it was more than a word. It was also the expansive deepening meaning it had felt itself to be in retreat; a meaning that could only become real in the world by being used in expression, over and over and over again.
It now understood and knew itself therefor, as being inextricably bound to language and people; time and space.

And the word felt itself at home, with its own special place in the world.

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