Under Babel's Shadow

We wander in the shadow of a crumbling Babel, unwilling to leave. Amongst the wreckage, we blunder lost, unable to give voice to our shared longing. Only here can we pretend to understand each other, pretend that we still speak of love like we used to. Through the ruins, stumbling over rubble, we climb stairs ending in thin air and hope in silence that here our spell might remain unbroken. We cling to the illusion of comprehension like the slightest wind will sweep it away. We dare not speak, any attempts at communication since the Tower fell proving fruitless, only bearing us further apart from one another.

I squeeze his hand, the only 'word' we have left. Man's hubris rendered us mute, and leaves us much to discover. What gulf grows in the quiet? Who have we become as creatures so distanced by language?

I remember those first days, back when we were persons of limitless potential. When humankind was a singular organism, with one language that hummed like a harmony in our souls. Our every thought and our every feeling innately understood by our fellow Man. We knew who we would love before we ever met them and there was no doubt, nor discord. We jointly dreamed of this Tower: our bridge to God, and moved toward that goal with purpose, blind to its futility. In a species with shared dreams, there was no room for dissent, no voice for concern.

I remember the pride. How smug we felt grasping for the heavens, but I cannot remember the words we spoke. Those, along with our hopes, were dashed on the boulders of our broken monument to ourselves. Our words were scattered to Earth's farthest corners and there, in the darkness, they lay forgotten.

I remember that fateful day when the Tower collapsed, slapped down by God's fury. A vengeful cyclone of locusts flew from above, crashing down against Babel's precarious heights. Those who survived the falling stones, slabs the size of houses, earthly meteorites, all those who labored under Babel's shadow and lived, the whole world, lost their words. And the dark swarm, its deed done, our conceit rendered little more than foundation and debris, disappeared into air, called by God back to heaven or whatever other dimension they called home. Our proud structure, once stretching into the air for miles and miles, was lost forever.

As we leave the ruins, I turn to him and speak for the first time in years. He blinks his watery blue eyes at my garbled tongue with clear bewilderment. I touch his hand to my lips and try again

I love you, I love you...

He smiles and replies. His own attempts at words guttural nonsense to my ears, harsh nonsense syllables so far from what my own speech had become. But his dancing eyes, his soft caress of my cheek—a light, lingering touch—make his meaning plain.

And I love you even more.

We kiss. And here, with love, beneath the remains of Man's former glory, understanding sparks again.