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

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There is something about silence that used to haunt me. When I was younger and I would find myself home alone with silence, I would avoid it, hide from it, tell it to go away. Inching my way down a dimly lit empty hallway, I would find myself sprinting from the eerie quiet. I would bury myself under a blanket before killing the silence with a push of the remote control. It really was not the silence that frightened me, but its ability to pull thoughts of terror and danger from my head.

As a child these were thoughts I could not defend against. But there exists one silence that did not haunt, but soothed; and so I did not push it away, but rather yearned for its embrace. It was the silence of the first snowfall of winter. No matter when it came or how cold it was, the first snow was magical. I could sit outside for hours watching as it cushioned a dying world, saying, It's okay. I'm here now. We'll get through this together. Every year, I am mesmerized by its ability to mute a roaring society. Its majesty flows to the center of my heart, and I feel true joy.

This is magic – a moment that seems to kidnap your heart, wrap it in a soft blanket, and rock you back and forth. It is a moment where nothing makes sense; all knowledge from the past is nonsense. It is an epiphany, a reminder, a mentor that opens your eyes to what is true. And as it rocks you in its caring arms, there is always music. In the beautiful silence that is snow, I hear bells that charm me and, like a snake, I emerge from my body and float, free from it. Only there can I see what the magic is trying to show me.

Growing up, I didn't know my sister very well. By the time my memory began to function, she was a teenager, eager to sever family ties. By the time I was a person – thinking, talking, experiencing – she was gone, gone from my memory. Whatever our relationship truly was, I could only define it by the words intentionally thrown at me to cause harm, and her friends dancing in the attic, talking in her bedroom, watching TV in the rec room.

To get to my room I had to climb the stairs that the rec room was across from. However, I never allowed myself to be seen by my sister and the boys and girls with her. Sometimes I would just stay in my room, hungry or thirsty. When I got older, I figured out that if I stayed close to the right side of the stairs and walked really quietly, I could pass unseen, unless someone was sitting on the arm of the couch.

Now that I've grown up and matured a bit, I no longer worry about the people sitting in the rec room. And my sister has grown up and matured a little, choosing to help me rather than harm me. In the past few years, I've learned a lot about her and she's learned a lot about me. But as we grow together, it seems like she can help me more than I can help her. She knows how it feels to be 16; I can only guess at how it feels to be 26.

But through all her mentoring and guiding and mothering (with a little tormenting), I have managed to find emotion in my sister. One day we were listening to music. She played a song I had heard before and remembered as slow and soothing but not momentous. But, when she started singing quietly, I felt the room fade away. All I saw was her, as she sang to my puppy, who for the first time stood still and relaxed. In my sister's eyes, I saw love for the first time. It was not the strong, supportive, guiding love I was used to, but a vulnerable and dependent love: the love that must be nurtured. I saw pieces of a broken heart holding onto each other and together cautiously tiptoeing through life.

I listened and watched the beauty in her eyes and was swept away, floating, and dreaming her dream with her. No longer was she my sister, but a person with a life and problems. When the song ended, we pretended as if nothing had happened, and I was forced to walk away with blurry eyes and shaking hands.

I believe in magic, in special moments that make you take a step back and look again. And in that moment of love or understanding, nothing else matters but the beating of your heart. I wish magic existed all the time. I wish my heart could feel such true emotion everywhere. But that's the thing about magic, it surprises you and makes life feel worthless and precious all at once.

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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aem312 said...
Jan. 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm
I really liked this. The imagery, the relationship between you and your sister. It was beautifully crafted.
 
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