Silence Dripping from the Ceiling

April 1, 2012
The song was perfect. Each key slid down gently, fluidly. It seemed like that was the purpose for this dusty, wobbly keyboard to be built into this universe, so that those keys could play at the moment they did and create the sound that they did. The sound washed through the vulnerable atmosphere, stripping the air down to the fundamental elements of feeling and of breathing. My head was turned and tucked tightly to my knees, away from you. I was shivering, staring at my pillow and at the gray sky out the window but not really seeing anything at all.
The words you sang were perfect. About this girl, sitting on a hill, observing. It made me think of the day I went running in the park only to find a hill just like the one you described. That was the day I sat all alone and imagined all my thoughts as paper that I crumpled up and burned, visualizing the flames in detail and painting wind to sweep away the ashes. On a bench not far from there, we sat in the alive and blue summer sunset. Mosquitoes swarmed and stole our blood, but we didn’t care. That’s when I told you about the emptiness and the powerlessness and the dependence on things darker than what was inside of me to begin with.
The song rolled along gently, powerfully.
I let myself feel.
I haven’t done that in a while.
That’s something I wanted to say. I don’t know what I’m feeling, but it’s something. It’s something fuller than I’ve felt in a while.

The moment clung to the edges of its frame and I silently willed it not to let go. If only this moment could stay right here, just a moment, in itself. But its knuckles were starting to strain and turn white. Its sympathetic eyes bore into mine as it unwillingly relinquished its grasp. Remorseful at first, but then getting swept up in the stream of all other moments, its edges growing blurry and nondescript.

The next moment shifted in. Air changed to silence. Silence clung like a heavy frost to every surface caught by overcast light. Silence dripped from the ceiling and rose from under the floors. Silence trickled through every vein in my body.

Words. Just a few words. Your voice. Your head looking solemn, straight down.
My caught breath, my words clinging to the sides of my throat. The sharp inhale about to speak, then soundlessness. Disconnect between the creatures swimming through my mind and monsters crawling up towards my tongue.

You turned to stand up, somber, closing the tattered songbook. Opening the guitar case and putting the book in, putting your guitar in. I watched how your fingers fumbled with the zipper. I still could not look at your face.

More words.

“I should probably go.”
More sentences stuck inside my throat. Excuses shallower than my own breathing. That song was an ocean, but these words, they were the cigarette boat that skims the surface. Quick enough to never really be in one place, flashy and facile. Typical.

I have never been so unsure of what to say.
You stepping through the doorframe. Me following hesitantly, wanting to scream “Wait!” but not knowing what could possibly come after that. My voice barely a whisper, faltering.
“Thanks for coming over.”
Then I pulled you close for one split second.
Walking, walking, walking away. I didn’t know where you were going because you didn’t have a car or a ride and your house is miles from here. I should have asked. I should have said anything, god dammit.

Stunned, I turned back into my house’s frigid air. The thing is, I could imagine that being me. Walking, walking, walking away. Wishing more than anything for someone to run after me and yell stop.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

hypermagical said...
May 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm
I don't know if you remember me saying this, but piece really has a lot of meaning for me- the statement is even more true as I read it for the second time. Keep it up!
Site Feedback