I love noise. Life is noisy. It bangs and clanks and booms and clicks. It’s cloudy. It’s sticky. Life makes sound and I love every thunderous moment. I like it when doors and cupboards are opened and closed with a grand Taa Daa! rather than with a shrug and a quiet apology. I love when the skies open with boisterous bangs and watery splashes, only to be soaked up by our thirsty Arizona desert and my equally-hungry ears.
Life SHOULD be noisy. And relished. And listened to. And heard. A while ago, we had these kicking speakers installed in the ceiling of our family room so we’d have surround sound of the highest order. Now we can pop in a DVD and crank the sound until the cells of our bodies liquify. It’s glorious!
I love my noisy life because I know it’s the silent moments that have always ruined me.
I’m destroyed by days when Dan and I don’t speak, but rather move about the house like very quiet, unseen ghosts. We’re aware of the presence of each other, yet we’re silent. We don’t speak. We don’t acknowledge as we pass in the hallway or sit side-by-side on the couch. I know it’s really the comforting quietude of a married couple in deep companionship, but nevertheless, I don’t trust those moments.
I have a reason for disliking silent times that otherwise would signal a welcome respite from the constant cacophony of daily life. I’ve found that the most terrible things seem always to be unannounced by noise or words or warnings. Things that go bump in the night are not nearly as terrifying as the instant just before one’s foot steps on a life-turning dime. There is a dizzying silence even in that thousandth of a second between the crashing together of cars and the Pop! sound of the deployment of a life-saving airbag.
It was within the silence of a growing brain tumor that everything I knew of security and safety was forever changed. Even now, just one quietly falling hair, circling down the shower drain can serve to bedevil me. Then there’s that tiny, fragile moment of unspoken concern for my still-frightened legs at the top of every flight of stairs. There’s also that now and again grabbing and holding and listening for something — anything — that might give an answer for that cloud passing through my brain.
It’s also that short, or long, apex between an argument and the I’m sorry that follows. It’s that nanosecond between television programming and the louder decibels that signal the abrupt insertion of commercial material. It’s the pause of my fingers over the computer keyboard that means I can’t think what next to type.
Yes. It’s still the silence I hate.
Today, it’s the stoic silence on the face of Scarlett, our Golden Retriever. Her left hip screams a winding course through her body, but all we hear is the silence of a foot that no longer touches the floor. Today, the proper firing sequence of doggie toenails clicking across the floor is missing one crucial cylinder. Today, one leg is held away from the ground so it touches nothing. It makes no noise. This now-quiet left leg has abandoned its running, fetching, toe-clicking joy. Without the ability to form words, Scarlett quietly, silently, gently beseeches me for help. I give her pills from the vet. I wait as medicine moves and melts, without a sound, through her stomach and into her blood stream. But not even powerful pain pills seem to help this hip thing — this miserable, arthritic, elder dog, hip dysplasistic, quietly ruinous thing.
God, I hate this kind of silence.