The Sound of Silence9 December 2020
Midnight, and you begin your walk home. In the abandoned suburban streets, you imagine you are the sole survivor of an apocalypse. Though once afraid of the dark, necessity has forced you to grow up quickly and now the night is your friend. Traffic lights flicker, continuing their rounds. Their metallic hearts beat alongside yours.
You feign listening to music through cheap headphones. Night is not unruly. It’s pleasurable. There is space to breathe, to collect, to resume being the thoughtful and understanding person you know you are, somewhere deep down. It’s too late to dwell on anything that needs to be done and too early to begin worrying about tomorrow. You are in a silent state of bliss, all on your own in this velvet night.
Your breathing becomes ragged as the path twists upward, transforming into a perfect, tantalising hike. A woman – your distant neighbour – fiddles with her Christmas lights, untangling and unwinding them from the trunk of the fattest tree on her lawn. They flash on, off, on, off. Each time they fade you see only black and think, maybe she has turned them off for good. Seconds later, the crystallised reds and greens appear again, showing off their needle-thin bodies. You’re happy, because now the silence isn’t lonely.
You emerge from the valley like an ant rising from a narrow hole in the ground. Limp summer leaves fight one another from above. They startle you. A creature escapes the foliage and blends into the charcoal sky. Its wings beat ferociously against it. This creature is your familiar, now.
When you return home, it’s dark. The house is asleep. You go to your room after taking off your heavy shoes and lie in bed with peace, with the silence.