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Silence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   In a relationship, how long doesit take before you have nothing left to say to the other person? How much timepasses before you have no more words that need to be spoken? Is silence a signthat your relationship is dying, or just beginning?

Last week Iexperienced a death. Not the death of a person, but the death of a relationship,a bond I'd expected to have for a long time. I sat on my best friend's porch,eating stale crackers and praying for my mother to come to take me home. The airwas hot and sticky, and I was being suffocated by the carrion of a friendship Iknew was dead. Cruelly, I did not care. I secretly wished it had died sooner. Shesat across from me, a person I had known so well that I could read her thoughts,and she could read mine. For five long years, she was my other half. My sister.My only regret is that I have no remorse for killing the bond that she stillconsidered alive.

So we sat on the porch, staring at our feet, realizingthat we no longer had anything in common. The more she complained, the more Iwanted to leave, and the more I wanted to leave, the quieter I became. Did shesense the change? The way I turned my head and looked down every time she triedto amuse me with her nonexistent humor? The way I refused to let her use me likeshe used to? She never needed me when she was happy. She never told me when shewas excited or surprised. She only told me when she was sad, depressed, mad andangry. But she has drained me of sympathy, so I said nothing. I have nothing leftto say, and I don't care. It's dead, I know it, and I wish she did too. That kindof silence is death.

The next afternoon I sat in my living room. I was onone end of the couch, and my grandfather was on the other. The air around us wasbuzzing with heat, sadness, sickness and an extremely uncomfortable silence. Oh,how I wished I had something to say, something that could make him smile like heused to. I searched my brain looking for what I knew I wouldn't find. Thissilence is not death, but caused by death. My grandmother, who died, was the onewho always started the conversation. She always knew just what to say to getright to the core of someone. There was never a silence like this when she wasalive.

So, we sat on the couch in a deafening silence. I looked out thewindow, waiting for someone to enter the room and relieve us both. He stared atthe walls, bowed his head, and murmured something about the weather. The hush ofthe room made me ache, nearly brought tears to my eyes. There was nothing I coulddo, nothing I could say, so I said nothing.

The following night, I saton the back step with the object of my affection. It was still hot, and I couldhear the hum of insects from the creek. The moon was a deep yellow, and tinystars shone between the clouds. Fireflies fluttered around us, brieflyilluminating the grass and the trees and the sky. I could hear everything: thegrass, the stars, the fireflies, the water flowing in the creek, our breath, ourskin as it touched and the thoughts passing through our heads.

The silencewas neither death nor sadness, but love and comfort, happiness and friendship. Ilooked at him, he looked at me, and I had millions of things I wanted to say. Somany years have passed, and I have not run out of words for him. That makes mehappy. We smiled, and I felt as though he knew before I spoke. There are endlesspossibilities to what we can do, to what we can say, yet we say nothing, andultimately, say everything.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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