Communication comes in many forms.

It can come on the top of your morning chai. An apology from your barista expressed with a line of cinnamon. A symbol of peace spoken without words. A mutual understanding that needed no nod.

It comes in colour. Gothic black. Virginal white. Peacemaking green. Serene blue. Camouflaged khaki. Dirty brown. Lipstick red.

It comes in seasons. A sprightly step echoing the rising energy of spring. A tear or two symbolising the releasing pattern of autumn. A desire for introversion matching the inwards movement of winter. A joyous belly laugh mirroring the expansive nature of summer.

It comes in choices. In opting to stay or opting to go. In answered calls and unanswered calls. In making the first move or waiting for the first move. In the food we choose and in choosing no food. In a cold drink on a summers day and in a hot tea on summers day. In the savoury or the sweet.

It comes in movement. In slow steps and long strides. In pacing and in standing still. In hunched shoulders and in downward facing eyes. In pouts and in crossed arms. In looking into another’s eyes and in looking away.

It comes in sound. In silence or in noise. In whispers or in shouts. In pitches or in monotones. In too many text messages or too few.

It comes in all the things we say and all the things we don’t. In the labels we give ourselves and the labels we don’t.

It comes in languishing caresses and in quick pecks on the cheek. In a hug or a handshake. In touching thighs and thigh gaps. In turned heads and heads leaning in. In smiles and in smirks. In wrestles and in tickles. In jest and in seriousness.

It comes in barefoot and in stilettos. In sweaty palms and flushed faces. In red eyes or white eyes. In the flicking of one’s hair and the wearing of a hat.

It comes in billowing sentences and short, sharp phrases. In a monologue or a dialogue. In a stutter and a clearing of the throat. In talking fast and talking slow.

That morning in the cafe, I nearly missed my peace chai. If I hadn’t decided to look down before taking a sip, the strokes of cinnamon would’ve melded with the creamy milk and the communication would’ve gone unnoticed.

Although the barista’s playful drawing was merely delivering a serve of morning smiles, that blink-of- an-eyelid moment made me think: how much silent-speak have I missed in my life?

How much anger was sitting beneath an ‘I’m fine’ response; how much nervousness was hidden under poor pick-up lines; how great a fear of confrontation was lurking behind a friend’s disappearance.

How often did I miss shaky fingers or a brow-line sweat; the losing of weight or the putting on of weight; the unusually quite voice…

And, equally, how many of my communications have gone amiss.

Who noticed the watery eyes and the deep breathing behind the nodding head. The foot holding tight to the floor as the other tried to move forward. The crossed fingers praying for a different outcome.

A line of cinnamon reminded me that communication comes in so many forms. Yet if we’re not present enough, or only searching for the words, we risk missing the message and the opportunity to connect.

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