Wrapped in Silence

As you sit in your bedroom, legs extended toward the foot of the bed and your back leaning against the wall, you can feel the heavy weight in your heart beat against your chest. It beats arrhythmically, out of tune with your heart and the pumping blood that courses through your body.

The weight is silence. The silence of the quiet thump of your heart and the rushing of blood in your ears. The silence of thousands of synapses firing as wild, uncontrolled thoughts tumble through your mind without leaving more than a faint trail that is wiped away by the same winds that give them agency. The silence of love unspoken and bitter last words that can never be reclaimed. A silence so complete that you can feel your voice, the voice with which you narrate your existence and that gives you a sense of self, fade and crumble in its face.

Outside, there is a similar weight pressing inward. It works its way through the blanket that wraps your legs and the sweatshirt you wear until it nestles against your skin like an itch you can never quite find, no matter how long you scratch.

This weight is also silence, but a separate silence. The silence of a fan blowing in the background, a constant whir that never ceases or varies in any perceptible way. The silence of an apartment full of people who are all busy with quiet things. The silence of a nearby highway humming with the steady stream of cars full of people who make their way from one place to another without ever conceiving of you as a being with your own hopes, dreams, and thoughts.

Some people, somewhere in your building, make a small noise that you know exists, but it is not strong enough to make its way through the walls and plaster that guard your apartment against their intrusion. The few people who, passing in their cars, look in your direction cannot see you for the brick and aluminum that guard the outside of your building against intrusion.

The two weights press against each other, pulled to each and yet repulsed by each other, constantly trying to escape from the other in one direction while being pulled toward it in the opposite direction. As the ebb and flow of their tugging begins to tear you apart, you quiet your mind and lay aside all of the rambling, rumbling thoughts that tumble through your mind.

This new silence, the silence of the mind after a long day; the silence of the mind when all thought has come to naught; the silence that reigns over the darkest moments of humanity; the silence that lifts up and glorifies the brightest moments of our lives and the lives of those we love; this silence settles into your mind.

As you sit and feel the power of this new, third silence, you let it flow out of you. It sweeps down to your heart and pulls the first silence with it. It glides outward then, capturing the second silence in its grasp and slowly wraps Silence around you, embracing you with a blanket devoid of warmth but resplendent with comfort. It pulls and tugs until not a scrap of you is left uncovered and slowly settles until you can feel it seep into your very bones. It takes such a hold of you that you are left wondering if there ever was something other than silence in your life; you wonder if have ever had a voice or heard a sound or if it was all a dream from which you have woken.

You feel the muscles in your chest expand and contract as you breath. You feel the muscles in your throat prepare the way for the word that will shatter the silence. You feel your tongue curl and move so that, as the vibrating air passes, it will make the correct sequence of sounds that will forever destroy this heavy, peaceful silence. As it builds, you can feel it coming, you can feel an end to everything you’ve ever know coming on the crest of this wave.

And then your muscles relax and the moment is passed. As your breath keeps its place in the first silence, your throat keeps its place in the second silence, and your tongue keeps its place in the third silence, you feel a fourth silence settle over them all. With this silence, the silence of the word unspoken, you feel the warmth that was lacking settle into you, the comfort is no longer cold and strange but familiar in a way that you cannot comprehend but wish to never be without again.

 

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