There was something about that morning that was painfully ordinary. The outdoors bleared; it was neither cold nor hot, rather settling somewhere awkward between the two. The wind whistled to her, singing in eerie siren circles, a melody that simmered on the tip of her tongue. Her once perfect ear was failing her. She couldn’t hear anything. Or perhaps, she heard too much. Perhaps the harsh music she blared had finally drowned out all the incessant bullshit. She looked upon her mother and heard nothing. She didn’t hear her heavy fire breaths or her bulky synths or her constant need for approval. She didn’t hear her father’s asinine howling or her brother’s disconnect to all that was human. She heard nothing. She wondered if she missed the noise, white and static, but still somehow comforting. There were times where she had fallen asleep to the cacophony and dreamed lucidly.
She woke up and dreaded the silence. It appeared slowly at first, in her younger days, like a certain tumor, but now crept behind her unexpectedly. It was reticent, almost shy, and she detested it immediately. It kept her morose and despondent with what was handed to her. She was a slave to that silence; her killer; her eternal footman. Her perfunctory routine felt worthless and she cursed the silence again. It spoke too loudly and in her reflection she felt disappointment with the stranger before her. She expected warmth or kindness, but all she was given was a girl. She was numb. She felt that she didn’t have the right to feel. Not divine happiness, or nuanced sadness, or streaks of brilliance, or throat-cutting passion. She was mute and she resented it, but maybe silence stayed because it knew her best. It was an old lover. It stroked her in ways nothing else had. Maybe silence stayed because it had grown fond of her. Maybe it stayed because somewhere deep, she had grown fond of it too.
She trekked to the train and rebelled against the quiet. She played Led Zeppelin and tapped her foot in messy synchronization with the heavy drums. She stamped angrily as if challenging someone to break the scalding mundanity of subway rides. The muted hush of the train was apathetic and indifferent to everything. She loved the patterns, the bumps, and sways of the rigid ride like a lover’s spine. She welcomed the rhythm that accompanied Jimmy Page's solos. It almost made the silence, her heaviest weight, bearable. Then she saw him. His blonde hair reflected the fluorescent light in blinding waves and his brown eyes flickered to hers. She wondered what he saw. She instantly looked away from him, this boy, almost unable to bear his curious orbs that shined so brightly it burned to look at him. He was too warm, too pleasant, too happy, too close, and she would infect it. She would breathe and he would break like fine china. She cranked up the volume of her music to drown him out too, but her inquisitive nature got the best of her. She watched him in the corner of her eye. She didn’t know if he was watching her too; she hoped he was. He smelled like apples and sun and the fifth of July. She was aroused by it. After all, she was only a girl and he was beautiful.
A sudden lurch crashed her body into his. The earphone trickled out of her ear like water. The harsh ring of Robert Plant was shoved away and pushed into her pocket. She didn’t need music to goad the silence away from her. All she wanted were his eyes- flecks of summer and solstice- they were timeless and carried her weight. Their hands touched in a brief instant. Her heart quickened and her throat tightened. It pounded wildly, in an almost sinister fashion. Her blush betrayed her nonchalance and she hoped he wouldn’t know this. She worked endlessly on solidifying her expressionless emotions, but under his pure gaze she trembled deeply. He had to be watching her as she watched him. She felt warmth and her eyes darting furiously until they landed on him again. She was transparent in her futile pursuit to avoid him. This quest only propagated her infectious mind to create something out of what should have been nothing. She lived out every moment in the theater behind her eyes. She saw everything they were and everything they could ever be together.
She saw candlelight, concerts, and camping. She saw Tompkins Square Park on Saturdays and Sarabeth’s on Sundays. She saw smiles that knew nothing of quiet, smiles that were fully stretched and never half assed. They never bullshit. She saw friends who didn’t understand her. She was only a girl and he was beautiful. She saw parents who would sensed her apprehension to the son they took the utmost care in raising. They asked him why he wasted his sunshine on silent girl. She saw different schools and a long distance something. She saw parties and laughter. She saw an inflation of substance: green, white, blue, round, crushed. She saw the reasons why her Golden boy stayed Golden. She saw him on the bathroom floor of his parents house; he begged her not to tell a soul and he would never touch it again. He screamed and begged; he cried and begged; he prayed and begged to her, like she would have the answers he was looking for. She acquiesced. She saw them again in early morning rain, slightly damp from the rainbow it had shed, but the mysterious flush they both sported did wonders for their complexions. She saw him want her to want him; she saw her telling him no; she saw her telling him yes; she saw her telling him that she didn’t know, never could know, never would know. She saw his eyes glazed red, and she asked him what exactly he was on now. She saw Golden boy snap and call her a b**** on a repeated loop, in a plethora different languages. She saw him flip tables and chairs as she ran away from him, leaving his apartment in dissolution. She saw herself return to him. She sat between his legs and said nothing, trying to warm what was now cold. She saw them cry and scream together, walls broke and windows shattered when they fought. They howled at each other like their parents did; that sunk in, and then silence took hold of them both.
They were mute. The footman was there now, so they touched each other like there wouldn’t be another time. Maybe there wouldn’t be one. He stroked her cheek reverently, asking her if she liked it; she nodded, but couldn’t seem to find words. She was uncomfortable at first as he stretched her without pretense. He couldn’t seem to find the rhythm they were both looking for, so she put on Led Zeppelin. After they finished, they were gasps and silently shed tears. They had been over before they even began, they both knew this. They were breaking up; they were bumping into each other ten years after that night; they were getting coffee and f***ing while their kids were at school; they were different now; they both had scars and stretch marks, love handles and gold bands. They weren’t neat, no, they were messy. They were unfair and selfish in ways that made them question everything. They were bound together, strung up in shoelaces and elastic bands, hiding the carvings they bore into each other’s souls. They were oil and water. They were tidal waves and desert storms. They were flowers on gravestones and never letting go. They were strangers and lovers and reincarnations of past lives. They were eternal and transient.
She smiled at him and he spoke.