Quiet Chaos

Quiet Chaos (October 2019, Week 3 Day 1)

It’s quiet now. I’m getting used to the silence. I don’t like it, exactly, but it’s familiar. Understandable. Mine. I own it, this silence. It’s one thing we never shared. 

She didn’t do silence – ever. Even in her sleep she surrounded herself with sounds and made a fair share of them, too. I think it was the only constant thing about her. The only thing that everyone who knew her understood. She took the noise with her and left me with the silence, and that wasn’t something the lawyers could do anything about.

The children bring noise with them, of course, partly because they’re children, even as old as they are, and partly because they’re hers. Great bursts of noise and energy accompany them on their monthly visits. In those moments, I let their sounds wash over me and I welcome the cacophony. I pretend they don’t remind me of her even though there’s no way they couldn’t. It’s like my DNA just did a pass-through when they were being made and hers stuck like glue. Her eyes look at me with pity. Her voice tells me stories. Her hands reach for me without making contact. But I don’t speak of such things or bring her up in any way. Doing so would ruin our visits and might make them stop coming. Once a month isn’t enough but it’s a far cry better than never.

I think I could handle constant noise from the children. Our children. No one would let that happen, of course, but it’s something I think about in the silence. Their noise is different. It’s sweeter. It wraps around me and presses gently like a hug. It didn’t feel like that with her. Not for a long time, anyway. I have tried to remember what it was like back at the beginning, back when things were good. Back when the constant noise didn’t leave me feeling like maiming myself. It was a long time ago. That’s what I remind myself, that time played a hand in everything. 

Time is the only thing I have more of than silence. I don’t like time. It lies. It tells the truth. It doesn’t warn you which is coming next – truth or lies – and tangles you up in a mess of expectations and reality. Tangles me up, anyway. I’m supposed to own my feelings. I’m not supposed to project them onto others. I’m learning, slowly. I have plenty of time to get it right.

It’s not always quiet here. I’m not always quiet. There are some noises I like more than others, and some I have to learn to accept. When things get to be too much for me, silence is usually what I crave. It always has been, which is why time and noise conspired to play me like a fool by putting her in my path. Life is a balance of quiet and loud, calm and chaos, planning and impulse. Those are my words, not theirs, and certainly not hers. 

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