All of the Words

Ex-Votos at the Grotta di Lourdes at the Church of Sant’Agnese Fuori Le Mura

Words are beautiful. Words of love, words of thanks, words of comfort. Pleas, demands, and warnings. Prayers. Blessings. Words unsaid. Like buds and pearls strung together, words connect us. They connect us through time and space. Whether shaped into sounds, gestures or movement these words translate our thoughts and feelings: Communication!

When they flow I mean. Some days they don’t. Like today. “Mmmm… siiii, eh… volevo…. mmmm…. volevo…. per caso…?”. My Italian was not flowing.

Learning a language is hard work. Today was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, bright and clear, all things flowed nicely throughout the day — except the words. I stood at the pharmacy counter blinking at the woman in the white coat. Blank. She squinted her eyes and cocked her head, maybe she hadn’t heard me she wondered? I was buying time as my brain caught up to the moment, veeeerrrryyyy slowly.

In these moments I feel like time is suspended. I throw words out into space hoping they will land in a way that makes sense. I see them floating around in the air and I try rearranging them into an actual sentence. I close my eyes. I breathe. Maybe the sentence will magically appear before me “mmmm… avete…. ecco…”. I stumbled, mumbled, everything a jumble until finally, like a car engine sputtering to life, I found my words again.

Sometimes the words just aren’t accessible and you have to wait a moment until they come. Learning a language, ci vuole tempo. It takes time.

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