Static Surroundings

May 18, 2009
By Elyssa Sullivan BRONZE, Bakersfield, California
Elyssa Sullivan BRONZE, Bakersfield, California
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

My stereo softly brushes acoustic chords and rhythmic lyrics across my thoughts. These precious moments of tranquility were rare for me. I used to live with my family; they could never appreciate the art of being still. Father was always pacing and yelling at anyone about anything, as if the only thing satisfying his life was hearing his rasping vocals shoot off the walls of the house. Mother was no better; she was so wrapped up in her social influence, her fleeting friends, her gossiping, she had no interest in the family and was constantly breeding her children of deceit over the telephone. Brother couldn't help but contribute to the disproportioned noise of the house, banging on a drum set while his friends shed their picks on the metal strings of their guitars: though he and his friends claimed what they played was music, no human ears could possibly agree.
This mess, this desolation, this life I had been living, it all changed five days ago.

A month before this moment of perfect serenity, I felt I couldn't take it any longer. I was in my room attempting to analyze the characters of Lord of the Flies when suddenly Father started yelling at Brother. At times like those, the only place for me to go was the basement, my place of rest and satisfaction. The basement could not drown out every bit of noise, such as Father's habit of thundering, but the basement made living here bearable. As I continued my analysis, Mother realized the same, and decided to take her calls to the lowest level of the house. While in the basement, she played one note for one friend, one for another, one for another, but if these tunes were brought together, the sound would be atrocious dissention and abounding disunity. I could no longer stand Mother's lack of propriety, so I left my polluted sanctuary to the confines of my room. By this time, Father had stopped yelling, and Brother was nowhere to be found, which affected me in no way. However, the sudden shrieking of strings of metal conveniently plugged into an amplifier affected me immensely. There was absolutely nowhere for me to go to escape the incessant disharmony of what I was forced to call my family.
A few nights following this day, amongst the chaos, I allowed my mind to wander to how I could rid myself of this lack of civility. Of course, I was in the basement, the only place where my thoughts were free to express themselves without being smothered out of existence. My first inclination was to flee, never turn back, and find a place of quiet, maybe lose myself in the heights of the mountains. Then I was rudely yanked back to reality by sensibility, remembering I have no money, no car, and no way to make a living on my own. However, the thought of ridding the world around me of my family tapped on the corner of my mind. I had turned my head, trying to find the source of the thought, for I could do no such heinous act, but I was alone. The thought plagued me for weeks, growing stronger each day, as if it were feeding off the sound waves scraping the walls of the house. It reasoned I would be doing society a favor, purging it of nature's malfunctions, but I did not listen; I could not listen. My family angered me so, but not to the point of annihilation.
Five days ago, I decided to take a nap. My thoughts felt heavy, as a gong diving into its deep resonation over and over again. There was relative quiet since Father was not yet home from work, Mother was out shopping with her most recent companion of choice, and Brother was indulging in the hypnotic rays of light dancing from a screen. My earphones pushed the soothing sounds of Mozart to the forefront of my mind, allowing me enough peace of mind to descend swiftly into sleep.
When I awoke, there was absolute silence. A gentle glance at the clock had revealed I had been sleeping for at least eight hours. Suddenly, the smell of burning flesh broke through my stream of consciousness. I leapt from the coach forcing myself out of quiet sleep into bright observation. I frantically searched the house, but could not find the source. When I went to check the basement, there was none. Where there had been a door just hours before, there was a wall. I slowly unfurled my fists, let out a shaky sigh, brought my hands in front of me with my palms faced towards the wall, and felt along the wall, hoping to find a knob stuck behind an illusion. My search was pointless and left me devastated, for this was my only place of solitude. I torpidly walked about the rest of the house, dazed and confused. As I entered Father and Mother's room, I was flung from my stupor, for everything personally associated with them was gone: clothes, pictures, jewelry, everything. I burst from their room to Brother's, and the result was the same: no drum sticks, no CDs, no schoolbooks.
As I telephoned the police, the smell dissipated, so when they finally made it to the house, they had no lead for where the smell could have come from. When I told them there was once a basement in the house, they asked to be shown where they could enter this basement. Pensively, with my heart pounding like a tribal funeral drum, I escorted them to the wall which so perplexed me. They pounded on the wall, listened for the hollow sound that would propel the truth into the open, but their efforts were in vein. They asked for the blueprints of the house; they wouldn’t break down a wall that couldn’t direct them any further in their investigation. Footsteps ringing with confidence, I showed them to the hall closet that possessed the contents of their request. The blueprints were gone.
Without further reason to stay, without a single lead, the police left me to contemplate the events of the past hour. Since I had been eighteen for nearly seven days at the time, the police allowed me to stay in the house and take ownership of what was left.
Back then, I had been devastated that my family was gone. Now, as you know, I bask in the silence of the house and of my thoughts. The voice demanding me to rid the world of my family has decided it has better things to do. I'm not sure where it's off to, but I'm certain it has grand plans. I do not know if the police will ever find my family, and I'm not sure I want them to. I do not need the basement any more, for there is no need for escape. My freedom found me in the form of closed eyes and soft, soothing music swimming through the silence.

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