A/N: The whimsical drabblings of a very hopeful author.


There once was a woman who wore all her words on her skin. Tattooed and stamped across her body in a bold black - microscopic, never ending chains of nonsense. When she spoke they lifted from her as she breathed life into them, floating into the air, giving them meaning and purpose. They flew from her lips, over her eyelids with each blink, out her ears and danced off of her fingertips into the world beyond. And then, as quick as they scampered off into the distance, they would reappear as constant as the sunrise. Each word was recycled, meant to be used over and over again. Every word except three.

I love you.

She could only say those three words once in her life. A single shot at a lifetime of happiness. And she supposed that her curse, the risk of being unwritten, was fair punishment for such a beauteous gift of creation.

If only others could see it that way...

Who could love someone with all their words on their arms? Whose face was masked in lines of prose and the careful litanies? The stares she received on the street corner, the little children who stared and pointed at the whirlwind of texts flurrying about, all nothing but a silent exile to her own little corner of the universe.

And so the woman lived in solitude, surrounded by a world where her words would be cast into the dark, meant for no one yet everyone all at once. Her gift was lost upon those who did not care enough to listen to her very strange language. So she would often speak to herself and watch the words fall from her in looping scripts. She would twirl with them, her voice carrying through trapped doors, leaking out through the windows or the cracks in the walls.

Such a happy woman.

And so lonely.

Some days the world was dark. Others it held the glimmers of hope. But she was not getting any younger. Age was diluting her words. What was once bright bold ink in the beginning of her childhood was beginning to fade into a dull grey print as she approached the peak of adulthood. But she was still so young. She still had all the world to see.

Perhaps, she thought, in those distant mountains or far-away glens she would find the one she had been striving for. She could feel their heartbeat - still yet to start - in the wind, in the sound of the Hudson lapping against the dismal shore. That calling never left, so close but so far away in the same instance.

So she left it.

And when she left for a whole new world, it was like she had been reborn. With each new adventure, her words changed, the ink in her veins shifting from the stagnant black to a myriad of colors. As she flew over mountains and swam in oceans and ran along the valleys she saw her colors transform. The spectrum of light refracted across her body in vibrant shades of purple and verdant green and the deep, deep blue of the eastern skies.

There were three words however, right above her heart, that stayed that dismal grey.

I love you.

That burden still plagued her. And though she had never felt so free, living without restriction, finally able to voice her thoughts and words, something was missing. Her heart was still dampened by the grey that had yet to change.

So she reluctantly flew back over the ocean, back to the hustle and bustle and tiny little home in the city, surrounded by the noise that drowned her out. But her colors didn't fade. She was the sunshine when there was none, her home painting itself to life as soon as she set foot in it. What was once monotone was now the rainbow, and she was overjoyed.

For the first time her heart didn't ache. And perhaps this was what she was missing. Perhaps she was only meant to bring color back into her own life.

The days after passed by as if nothing had changed. Each day was a new beginning. The birds still chirped and the cars still honked their horns. And she still wanted her morning coffee. It was warm in her hand and the bittersweet taste woke up her mouth with explosions of mocha and rich creamer.

The man she ran into next did scare her, spilling her coffee all over the concrete in the process. It wasn't his fault, and she apologized, as she should. After all, it was her fault for being so caught up in the scenery. But this man was different. He did not look at her words. He didn't even utter a word of his own. He just waited, for what she was not sure.

As she spoke, the words rose as they usually did and made their show, swirling across the space between them. But this time, they went towards the man, sticking to him like adhesive, inking his skin with a deep, rich brown. The color of spilled coffee. And when he opened his mouth, he found he could speak those words. Those words and nothing more.

The woman was astounded, and in her fervor said more and more. She shouted in joy, as many words as she could find in as many colors as she could manage. The words surrounded the man, covering him, shrinking to make more room as they dominated his skin in those playful streaks.

And as she spoke, he spoke back, telling her his story of how he was born without a voice. How he grew up mute in a world that had no time to listen. But he had a calling, he said, a feeling of emptiness in his heart that he always needed to fill. A calling to be heard, to be spoken.

The words in their fury did die down. What passed in what felt like ages was met without opposition. It was as if no one had seen what had transpired, this intimate exchange of knowledge and voice.

The woman did step forward, hand running down the man's face, feeling the words as they cooled into less vibrant and outlandish shades of their predecessors. But something was still missing. Her hand wandered to his heart, but she felt no beat, just like her own. Dull and useless. Their bodies were paper only, their skin an instrument.

But as she pulled down the collar of his shirt, she saw a patch of skin empty. It was so tiny that she might have missed it had she not been looking for it. But in an instant she knew what words belonged there.

Tingling with unbridled joy and anticipation, she lowered her head to the man's ear and whispered those three words, those words that could both end or transform her life.

I love you.

And she felt herself disconnect for just a second, her breath ceasing as those words flew up from her chest and wavered in the air. And for just a split second, she thought they might fade from this world, those thin and fragile letters. For a single moment, she knew what it felt like to be unwritten.

But in the next moment they found purchase on the man's heart, searing in a burning scarlet - the color of blood. And she herself found the same sight upon her chest, the intense burning overwhelming. And when the burning subsided, all that was left was warmth, an unyielding warmth and satisfaction in the fact that she had finally found where she belonged. And the quickening beat beneath her palm was all the proof she needed.

The pair strode off together, talking just because they could, just because of the beauty of their words that streamed behind them in the most vibrant and lively shades of red.