“Even when they were getting along their union seemed fragile, on the verge of ending. I never heard them say ‘I love you’ to each other. Instead, they said, ‘I miss you,’ when they were lying beside each other in bed, or when they walked hand in hand along the banks of the Charles River. ‘I miss you,’ they would say, and overhearing this, I didn’t understand how you could miss something that was right beside you.”
– Caucasia, Danzy Senna
Unlike Birdie from Caucasia, I think I understand why her parents said “I miss you” instead of “I love you.” When you can feel an ending you’re more caught up in losing the other person than in experiencing him/her. I miss what I want for us. I miss what I know we can never be or have. I miss you, even though you’re right beside me, because I can feel the empty space too.
In French to say “I miss you” is Je te manque. I think it’s interesting that “miss” seems so passive, the ending falls off in a breath, but “manque” has this harsh plosive right in the middle of it. It almost makes it an entirely different expression, doesn’t it? The English gives up, but the French is solid and certain. Okay, maybe I’m just really partial to the French language, but I think you can catch my Frisbee here.
I imagine some grainy black and white film. It’s silent. I see the image of a young woman mouthing the words and then a framed page with the serif dialogue. And when I see it in English it’s entirely different than when I play it in my head in French. You try. Kind of fun, no?
Well, whether you chose to get interactive or not, I hope you understand– and I’m sure you do.