The Voice and the Listener by Aaqib Naeem
Making A Difference writing prompt entry
"Thank you..." said the low, shaky voice. As far as thank-yous go, there was no mistaking that this one stood out in terms of both sincerity and gratitude. The tremor in the voice could have given anyone goose bumps. Normally, no one starts a conversation with an old friend in such a manner when meeting after a few years gap. "Why...What for? I mean, are you alright?" came the slightly startled response.|
"You don't remember, do you? No worries; I'll tell you. Oh, I've always wanted to tell you!" They were sitting at a small table in a crowded cafeteria and had to lean forward to hear each other properly. "You remember when I was going through The Thing and I finally shared it with the rest of you?" Oh! The Thing, right...that certainly rang a bell.
"You were all so kind to me and offered to help in whatever way possible. Made promises, encouraged and advised, introduced activities as distraction and provided opinions on how I must live my life. Some of that was helpful but the rest I couldn't relate with. But you didn't. I remember you offering little in terms of words. Yet, you were the kindest of them all. For one by one, they excused themselves and left. You stayed. And that is when you asked me if I had more to share still. That you would stay and listen because all you had to offer was your time. You would sit by my side a little longer, if I wanted to share a little more. And ohhh God, I did. For there were tons more from whence the rest had come..." The voice cracked several times. It's fragile, teary nature became as visibly real as the tears rolling down from behind the pained eyes.
"I spoke for hours. It was the keen, encouraging eye contact which kept me going. Whenever I thought I must be boring you, I would look over and find no trace of disinterest in your eyes. You barely spoke. Offered no advice, passed no judgment and never cut me off. My honesty didn't scare or push you away. At that moment in time, I was truly grateful to have one person who would just sit by my side and allow me to be me. That is the day you became my savior!" The flush of embarrassment this revelation brought was apparent on the listener's face. It began to hastily mumble a typically modest reply but the voice took hold of it's hands and shushed it. The voice was smiling through it's tears now.
"No...I need you to understand. I was in a dark place. The help you offered was what helped me navigate my way through it. Let me acknowledge you with reverence today. You're a lifesaver, a hero and the kindest of them all. With me, it was you who made the difference. Thank you..." repeated the low, shaky voice.
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