I’d been telling you about this place for a long, long time, but I brought you here because of the quiet. I wish I could say that it was ours, tell you that the weight of this place could hold you because all it does is amplify a hush that sits inside both of us. But the quiet here is its own. It belongs to the place, is the place, lives in those layers of dusky mist and bronze light. It stands by the edge of the water, not waiting to be carried away (not waiting for anything), but just watching as the vast openness of the sea throws itself against the peat cliffs falling into it. They’ve been flanking the water there for millions of years, guarding it like it’s a temple.
We drove to the edge of the shallow hills on a road that’s just a cut between the grass scabbed over with concrete. If we saw lights, we turned them off—we switched off the headlights, made a fire on the beach and covered it with stones. Then we found a place to sit and brought the hood of the night around us as we lifted our chins into the windy, ancient silence.
We were out of words—I didn’t have any tears left and you were tired from not being able to cry. Your body was small and tight and in a place that looked different from where I was sitting, like it was a separation that you carried with you no matter where you were. As we watched the water cut softly against the shore, I almost said that I hoped that this place would make you feel like you wouldn’t have to be the keeper of your own silence anymore, that maybe here you could be surrounded by a quiet that didn’t question but only gently opened itself for you. I’d learned that I couldn’t do anything but listen, but maybe I could give you a place for when you lost your words. You could be the water, and I could be the cliffs.
I stood up, stretched, and told you I’d wait by the car.