sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Sound of Silence

This will have to pass for a "Sunday sermonette".

A non-sequential series of fictional shorts:

A Sound of Silence

Not a sound, not a whisper, not a dog barking, a chicken crowing or a car’s engine disturbed the morning as I lay in bed, unsure if I died at some time during the night. The point being that I didn't feel the way that I expected one to feel when the bell tolled.

The stillness unnerved me, disturbed my waking, and I lay in bed, quilt pulled high. The 6:00 am train never came past with its metal wheels roaring, steel on steel with the big diesel locomotives pulling box cars of stuff from here to there. No wail of the big train horn tore through the absolute silence.

If I had died in my slumber, wouldn’t I have gone into the light? I pondered over my many sins, misdeeds and over the intentional wrongs I did driven by hubris, passion and lust. Perhaps Hell was remaining in stasis, in silence, alone, while souls of the worthy departed, rushed to destinations on unfathomable shores--into the light.

To test the theory I pulled open the quilt, pivoted, feet meeting slippers on the bedroom floor. It felt real in surreal way because there was still no sound, no recognition, no sudden recollection of the circumstances that brought me to this silent situation that was so like the room where I slept but seemed now subtly alien.

The slippers scuffed the old oak floor when I walked but the only sound in the universe was the sounds I made, the scuffing of cheap plastic soles on old wood. There was a floor safe. I walked there first, spun the dial and cranked it open. I pulled out old paper in bundles, the eyes of dead presidents scanned me lifelessly and I quickly replaced them, dropping the metal door with a satisfying thunk. My riches seemed intact.

Scuff – scuff – scuff to the washroom, the tap squeaked and cold water rushed out. I caught some in my glass and drank it. The water felt cold, but unsatisfying. Maybe I wasn’t thirsty.

Looking back at me from the mirror was a face I didn’t recognize as my own. I took a bar of soap, and wetting it, began to transfer its filmy finish to the mirror because her voice was speaking to me and I knew that it came from the mirror.

Her words described a day of etched shadows and pacific blues in the early winter sun of the western ocean when first we knew that we loved each other. Salty kisses and tide pools. The love and its recognition was neither sudden nor gradual; it was suspended. Time stopped for us when we made love urgently like the continuous rain that builds to an inevitable flood. Days now past from the  vivid moment into cobwebbed history.

The words were a song, now muted by the soap, now hushed by my force of will as I moved out of the washroom and slammed the door behind me. It should have slammed. I pulled it hard. I pulled it very hard behind me. But there was only a hush where a bark of wood on wood, a report of finality should have echoed through the house.

Something drew my attention upward, to the ceiling, to the white plaster top to the box where I lived but there was no white plaster, no ceiling or roof at all. Simply an ink black sky blazing with vibrant stars and a waning moon.