Silence is an unwelcome visitor. It brings no peace but rather a feeling of overwhelming isolation. Silence is torture for me.
When the remains of the day have finally dissolved into night and I go to bed, I turn on my fan. I point it straight into my face…even if it’s ten degrees outside. The white noise is a good distraction for trying to drown out the thoughts and conversations fighting for attention in my head.
Sometimes when the noise of the fan cannot drown out those voices, I will scream into my pillows after having tried to beat them to death with my tiny, insignificant fists. I will curse as I throw them across the room, as if trying to discipline them because the fan is not keeping the silence away.
I will not cry. If I did, I would be afraid that somehow, mama would hear me and send the dark angels down to taunt me by saying “that’s right. Turn on the waterworks.” They would then beat me until I stopped.
They would point at me and laugh. They would tell me that I am weak and then punish me for that weakness by stealing my sleep.
Silence has a low, persistent heartbeat. It has a hot, acidic breath. It stalks me like a relentless, carnivorous abuser who will not rest until it devours me.
I could always hear the sounds of nature and the distant chatter of my children playing but mostly, it was silent. I didn’t need the passive entertainment of a television or a radio. I would hum when I was ironing and I would sing to myself when I was cleaning but not because I feared silence. Silence was golden. Silence was my friend.
I don’t know when silence became my enemy. For years I silently screamed for attention and affection. I silently screamed to not be invisible. Maybe because my screams went unheard, that silence turned on me and became my enemy.
Darkness doesn’t bother me. It never did. I can hide in darkness. Nobody can see my wounds. Nobody can see me bleed. Nobody can see me mourn.
In darkness, nobody can judge me or criticize me…because they can’t see me. Nobody can hurt me…because they can’t find me. Darkness offers a blanket of protection and comfort. It provides anonymity and invisibility, which I now call friends, too.
Darkness is my friend.
Oh, but…how I long for silence to once again, become my friend.