The geography of silence


The silence returned, deep. He thought of the stillness as tidal, a recurring wave that smothered everything: his breath, his heartbeat, all the known geography of his thoughts. He could feel it submerge him, and he welcomed it. He wanted the no-sound to fill him so that nothing else could threaten, or matter.

She thought the silence was elastic, likely to snap and knock things over. It stretched for a short time before the strain was too great and it crumpled to its natural shape. Loudness was a way of life, and the quiet was tenuous, meant to be broken. It was necessary to fill in the blank spaces, fill it with something, anything: a cough, a hum, or a knock-knock joke, anything to fill in the blankness. Too much silence, and it collapsed, into anger or violence.

They departed in their understanding of silence; he welcomed it, she feared it. They intuited the other was different, but did not speak of it. Without her, he would drown; without him, she would suffocate in a babble of noise.


10 thoughts on “The geography of silence

  1. stu artphoto February 21, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Excellent composition and great use of shallow depth of field!


  2. Sabiscuit February 23, 2016 / 12:30 am

    The colours in the photo are surreal. I imagine the couple living in a universe where nature was pristine and they could love without that instinct to destroy the unity they enjoy. The desire for independence and struggle against interdependence are very strongly represented.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steven Baird February 23, 2016 / 1:02 am

      Thank you. I’m so pleased that you got that. I think the mutual acknowledgment of the difference is important, whether it’s spoken or not. Love needs intuition, just as they need each other… and they both accept that. You said it perfectly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sabiscuit February 23, 2016 / 2:23 am

        Your writing is phenomenal. It invites introspection. I wish we could all find balance with the “what is there.”

        Liked by 1 person

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