There is something deeply romantic about punctuation marks. They direct; they gather momentum; they are like fingers beckoning.
Several years ago, I was wooed by a question mark. This stunning curvature twisted around me and we made love without answers. We crossed borders on our tiptoes, twirling our tongues over mountaintops and forest hikes. I proposed marriage to this question mark and we spent our days researching our way toward a comeback.
But what started as alluring, slurred into frustration. Breath became an elongated interrogation and suddenly we found ourselves apart.
On a Thursday morning while coffee spilt into my mouth, I looked to my right and immediately felt the heat emanating off an exclamation mark. I was captivated by the volume of their speech. A week later and they plunged their screams inside me and questions were no longer a part of me. I gave up on wondering. I gave up on trying to understand what suffocated inside me. Instead, we yelled. We wrapped our skin inside howls and shrieks. This love was exciting, but. Overwhelming. And unpredictable. At times, unsafe.
We parted and I realized how difficult it can be to get over an exclamation.
I had an affair with an M-dash. This floating line asked me to undress it as we found our way inside a tiny bathroom stall in a bar on Delancey as we both tried to forget the haunt of our significant others. This extra-long dash was taller than I and so beautifully feminine. I gathered up their soft. They stained my neck with red and blue. It was only that night, but I could feel myself expanding.
I had been searching. I had an idea of what I was looking for, but could not seem to find the right shape. I met a period, but they were too controlling. I almost thought I had met my match with a comma until I realized we were in search of different ways to pause.
On a Sunday. Past the point of cold but not exactly warm. New York City. Lights. Overpriced whiskey. A semi-colon walked into the room; suddenly, I could feel the elocution of my lungs. And for once, I felt at home in my body. Perhaps because I was seeing another so comfortable in theirs. We spoke and even in our shynesses, I had a sense that I had finally met the other half of my sentence. An independent clause.
There is a pause inside us and a need to (be) complete as well. This is what is so beautifully complicated about a semi-colon. We are complete without the other half; and yet, so much more profound and elucidated by the other.