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

   The intense flavor of the city, itsflamboyance and vitality, came to a halt when I grasped the handle of the heavywooden door and swung it open. I smelled something musty, but not unpleasant. Itwas like the comforting smell of an attic filled with keepsakes. The place Ientered was dark in comparison to the bright spring day that fought to penetratethe blackness inside. As the door began to close behind me, I took heed of a signin several languages saying, Please be quiet. The sun's light crawled off thewalls and back out to the streets, defeated in its battle against thedarkness.

The latch on the door clicked into place, the sound echoingthroughout the stone structure. Then it was silent, and I was surrounded bydarkness. Normally these conditions would leave me nervous, or even give me thefeeling that someone was watching me. Instead, I felt secure. This was a silenceand darkness that I would embrace again in a heartbeat.

I go to churchalmost every Sunday, and am accustomed to my austere Lutheran church, so when Iwalked into Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, its aura spoke to me. It was one ofthe most beautiful places I have ever seen. The intricately carved stone and wooddepicting Bible verses came alive in impossible detail when the tiniest amount oflight from the stained-glass windows delicately touched them. The windowsthemselves were full of beautiful colors illuminated by the intense sun. Deepblue and ruby-red panes were such pure shades that my eyes became fixated onthem.

The cathedral was a marriage of art and religion. All of thatbeautifully handcrafted work was done for God. The dedication of the artist wasinspirational. This may sound idealistic, even improbable, but I felt cleansedjust by being there; my soul was refreshed.

I became lost in mycontemplation of this art and my beliefs. I was swimming in a sea of contentment.Nothing else existed. It was just me, the cathedral and God. Then my sistertapped me and gestured to the door. The silence was broken, though not a soundhad been made.

As I reached the door's handle, the blinding light hit me.The sounds of a bustling city and the cries of a sidewalk vendor "Des cartespostales, quinze francs!" resounded. I grabbed my wallet, took the tatteredbills and handed them to the vendor. A postcard, a small piece of paper, will beall that reminds me of that silence until I return again.

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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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