“I saw a woman, back turned to me, shoulders covered by the masses of her own dark hair. Suddenly, she turned round, and I saw that her face was wet with tears. And when she looked up at me with my own eyes, I saw that her sorrow was my sorrow, that her face was my face, that I had caused her sorrow and that she had caused mine, that the sorrow of the world was our sorrow, that the face of the world was wet with our tears, and that our tears filled the oceans and rivers, and came down in rain, and watered the world with sorrow.
“And the thing I regretted most was that I could not tell her of my sorrow. The wall stood between us, choking my words, rendering her gaze impenetrable, our bodies immobile. I walked away without speaking, as if silence could do justice to an ocean of feeling, as if cowardice could possibly be mistaken for strength, as if time would erase all memory, as if life were unreality, a fiction, a story that could easily be rewritten.
“And now I walk in the shadow of the wall, whose escarpment engulfs me like the towering cliffs of a canyon, and my own muteness cries out to me like a madman whose screams can be heard high above the wind, and my muteness mingles with the muteness of others, and my silence with theirs, and my screams with theirs, and I feel myself drowning in the silence of those screams, and I know it as a silence that encircles and enfolds us all.”
– from The Empty Cup