The Quiet People
Don't forget about the quiet people.
Though they may never tell you, your music has changed their existence. There in the audience, among hundreds of pairs of eyes looking back at you, they were the ones who saw you peeling your soul on stage. At the end of the gig, while the crowds formed lines in the lobby to meet you, they were the ones rushing out of the concert hall and into the night. Look for them in the quiet spaces between your notes; their tears fall to the floor like broken pearls.
Do not forget the quiet people. When they sat next to you on the bus, they noticed you. They wondered about you. They searched in your eyes for your life story, unique and frayed and trembling at your lips like a hand-rolled cigarette, but they were too scared or quiet to ask. When the doors opened and the windy city sucked you out, their hearts grew larger to fill the vacuum, and they turned to their pensive reflection on the window.
Please, don't forget the quiet people. Your words have scarred them. They stayed up all night dislodging them like splinters where they dug deep into the flesh. Internalising every little betrayal, neglect, teasing and judgement that you threw at them during the day, they grew another limb that beat them to sleep.
I beg you, don't forget about the quiet people. Be gentle when you walk into a room, try not to trample. You'll see them alone, lingering on the periphery of the room, or huddled together engrossed in conversation. They may hold on to their glasses like they would from the edge of a cliff. Really notice them, they are ready to revel in your presence. Remember their names, pronounce them right, they won't correct you. They are not shy - they are softspoken. They do not prefer solitude - they crave connection. Include them in your life if you want it to bloom honeysuckle and wisdom; they will always dance naked with you in the rain.
Like birds in the spring they will sing in the night, half confused - half stubborn, persevering with a life force larger than words, equal to love. They have not one heart but two, one for the sun and one for the moon. Their restless soul may have brought them to distant shores, but their love sleeps cradled in your cupped hands.
Yes, don't you forget the quiet people, they think about you after you've gone. For hours, for days, for years on end, they read your letters again and again and stare at the hefty handwriting, heaving the irreplaceable loss from sentence to sentence. They try to remember your voice and revive your face in the trees and the frost on the pavement. They live on - quietly - after you've gone.
And when the time comes, they too trudge the path through the snow fog to endless white landscapes, leaving behind some half-empty teapot, some gentle life. When the sun hits the rock side at sundown, like hidden ores they glimmer in gold for a moment, withdrawing in shadows again. Look for them, out the window beyond your screen, between these lines, in subtle magnificence, in each moment, at each breath; do not forget the quiet people, you'll miss out on the world.