The Right Words

0a0d5893cf0e40024295dae6ee3463f5For a week I haven’t had words.

Oh, I’ve chatted plenty with my son, who’s out of school for the summer. I’ve dropped by my neighbor’s house for a glass of wine and conversation. I’ve texted with more friends than I can count, checking in or making plans.

As soon as someone mentions Orlando I freeze.

For a week I haven’t been able to find the right words. That’s unusual for me, and uncomfortable. I feel like I’m failing: my LGBT friends, my readers, my community. I scroll through Facebook and see profile pictures superimposed with rainbows. I read posts condemning the shooter, and the society that denigrated his desires to such a devastating end. I’m so grateful for the love and support my straight friends are expressing, but when I read what my gay and lesbian friends have written, or talk to them in person–when I hear their pain and rage and confusion–nothing I could ever say seems like enough.

For a week I’ve had no words.

I do, however, have a wild imagination. I live a good part of every day in the heads of my characters. I see them, hear them, feel them. They’re as real to me as the people who populate my world, maybe even more so. Living them as I have for the past two decades, I’m not sure it’s possible to separate them from me. I wouldn’t want to try. I have an intimacy with these characters so profound and tangible it’s almost impossible to express.

As I embrace Joel, and James, and Adam, I embrace the men they represent.

For a week, I haven’t been able to come up with the words to tell you that I see you and love you and write for you. Not in your stead, but for you, and for who you are in all your beauty and humanity.

So I’ll keep writing.

Words are the most powerful gift I have to give.

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer Hritz All Rights Reserved

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