“Ask me what I remember most about my Granddad. Which coast I always have one foot planted on. Whose hand I can still feel on my palm if I leave it out of a pocket. If my femininity really protects me from only truly being able to cry when I’m on my own. If I only call my friends in the kind of emergency that I can articulate. If it blows my mind that my favourite candidate in the 2062 election is yet to be born. Ask me who I am when I’m alone, and if I can mimic it for you”. – Leena Norms: Alternative Small Talk.
Let’s not ask how their day has been, if we don’t plan on sitting with them and looking into their eyes while they give us their answer.
Let’s not ask them a question and then interrupt before they can even finish their sentence.
Let’s not talk about the weather, about Netflix, about Brexit, about work, about anything, to avoid talking about the things that really matter.
And please, please, let’s cut the words I’m fine out of our vocabulary; because what even is fine, and why do we try to pretend that we are there?
Instead, let’s ask some real questions.
“Ask me if I ever lose hope, or if I hang it on a key chain by the door at night, so I can get to it in an emergency. Ask me how much of my day is really my own, and how much feels like it’s stuck to others, like chewing gum on an exam desk. Ask me if I ever cheated on a test, or if I regret having not. Ask me if I have swimming badges, and how many. Ask me what the best lipstick for a broken heart is. Ask me, if they carpeted every street, if I would throw away my shoes. Ask me what the last book I dropped in the bath was, and who the Prime Minister was when I was born, and how I say no to things I don’t want to do. Ask me what the reward is for being myself”. Leena Norms.
I have some questions for you.
I’d love to know what your favourite smell is, and which memory that smell takes you back to.
I’d love to know which music video you were in in your mind, when you would put your headphones in and stare out the window in the back of your parents’ car.
And I’d love to know who you wish was sat next to you right now.