The Terrible Truth of Silence

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.

0 thoughts on “The Terrible Truth of Silence

  1. Silence can also mean that the engine has stopped…a very disconcerting event if one is flying at 30,000 ft.

    PS There is a debate in aviation circles as to whether or not a plane’s propeller pulls the plane through the air or forces the air past the plane. As a friend once told me, it does neither. It is an air-conditioner. If it stops, watch the pilot start to sweat!

  2. It’s just too bad that our four-legged family members grow old and infirm so much faster than we do. They live their entire lives against only a short period of ours.

  3. Which is exactly why the tortoise who lives to be a hundred bizillion years is the perfect pet. They aren’t much for cuddling, but they certainly outlive us … and they don’t cost a fortune to be groomed all the time. Problem solved!

  4. This whole thing cut me…in a good way…It produced a gush of inner pondering. What awesome writing, Auburn!
    Thank you for sharing.

    Is there a way to subscribe to your blog? I think I have asked you before. Anyway, I would like to be informed of updates here.

    I do so want to read what you have to say…but I keep forgetting. 🙁

    I also sent you an email a couple of days ago .. Did you get it? My email has been a bit wonky.

    Thinking of you.

  5. Thank you, Nancy.

    I don’t have a specific mechanism for subscribing, but I can email you each time a post goes up if you’d like. I’m just awful for not writing daily, but sometimes I like to linger over thoughts before I zig to my next zag.

    I’m sorry I didn’t get that email from you … maybe a quick resend will do the trick.

    Thanks again ……..

  6. Pretty cool post. I just came across your site and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you post again soon!

  7. Yes! Get your web genius to do his thingy and add a subscription thingy to your blog. That way our brain thingy doesn’t keep us from remembering before we are 5 posts behind…

  8. For sweet Scarlet, maybe doggy massage with some kind of pain relieving oil from Whole Foods? I forget which ones are for pain… Also, maybe a heating pad in her doggy bed–Ellie loves that.

  9. Lisa — good idea on the doggie massage. Maybe girls’ day for the two of us at the spa is in order. I’m thinking Swedish for me and maybe a hot rock massage for Scarlett. Pedicures and Perrier, of course.

    Also, umm … my web genius? Unfortunately, you’re lookin’ at her and she ain’t no genius. I need to find someone pdq to fix all my “issues.” I’m taking applications.

  10. I read this again. I’m sorry for my comment. I know I originally offered condolences about Scarlett but accidentally deleted it and forgot to replace it before I clicked submit.

    I’m sorry about that.

    I was just thinking today how really marvelous it is to see my son (23) “communicating” with our poodle dog, Daisy. (12) There is real love between them. Honestly, they speak a deeper language than just english.

    I love Daisy. She has been such a source of sweetness, strength and friendship to our family.
    Believe me…I understand pet-love!

    I hope Scarlett is feeling better. Have you considered adding MSM to her diet? My sister asked her health food store about it and purchased something that greatly helped her dog.

    All best, to all of you.