June 8, 2007
Volume 35
Issue 23
search only SGN online
Tuesday, May 26, 2020



Religious Coalition for Equality seeks Executive Director
Tour De Life by Beau Burriola
Other words
by Beau Burriola - SGN Contributing Writer

"You won't be gone long," Izzy assured me when I told him that I was moving. Had it been years earlier in our friendship, I might have been offended in his apparent lack of faith. Years on though, I can listen to his comment and hear the words he doesn't say, that he's never been the sort of person to say, things like "I'll miss you," and "I hope you won't decide to stay away." This is his way and I'm glad to have had known him long enough to learn that.

"We'll still keep in touch," Mike said, though I'm sure neither one of us believes we'll actually carry on trading mixed CDs or leaving prank calls on one another's voicemail. I guess it's something you say when you don't know what to say, when "goodbye" feels awkward or unwelcome. He's been a good friend, but I know he isn't one to write and I won't begrudge the reality of life thousands of miles away falling into time.

"You'll love it out there," Jamie assured me, though this was a complete turnaround in her previous opinion. Months ago, she was telling me how awful it was down South and how she was glad to get away. Through her soothing words I could hear her unconditional support. The role of family is to support, even if they don't agree one bit.

"You'll be so busy with the new place you'll forget it's even summer here," Matty said with a smirk. His comment seemed to suggest that in the unpacking of boxes and in the details like swatting flies and mosquitoes and turning on an air-conditioner in my new humid home, the memories of the home I've leaving behind would be forgotten. After our many Pride parades, Sea Fairs, and barbecues together, both of us were already remembering the time we spent together and wouldn't be likely to stop in the coming weeks.

The words we speak, the things we say, are never the only words. We speak our hearts with spoken sounds, but the space under the sounds and the years behind them can change their meaning, even if it's exactly the opposite; they can be untrue without being insincere, they can be confident without being sure, and they can be consoling without being comforting. These words about my move away from Seattle, these other words, unspoken by those who have made up my life here, are all part of the maturity and wisdom Seattle has given me. I know enough now to hear them and I know how best to respond, or rather, not to respond.

And for all the words I can say to express how grateful I am and how much I appreciate all that I've experienced as an out Gay man in Seattle learning who I am, it's those other words, the unspoken words I hear, that mean so much more to me.

Beau Burriola is a local writer trying to listen deeper with the years. E-mail him at:
visit Beau at

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