Silence


All is quiet in his pristine house.  He sits at the kitchen table listening as Cat approaches, her gimpy leg dragging on gray tiles, orange tail curled in a question mark.  Cat rubs against his leg and he wonders which of them enjoys this brief moment of touch more.

He lifts his teacup from its saucer and takes a small, tentative sip before setting it back onto the saucer with a satisfactory clink.

The refrigerator buzzes. 

The heat kicks in.

The clock marks time from its post above the stove.

But time no longer matters.

He sighs and unfolds the newspaper.  He pulls out the style section and studies the pictures.  He likes the close-ups.  He likes to see everyone smiling. 

He runs a brittle thumb over the image of a couple recently-engaged.  “Listen to your hearts,” he tells them.  “Don’t get caught up in careers and money and silly concerns.”

The couple continues to smile.  Not a care in the world.  He studies the backs of his weathered hands; hands untouched, uncaressed, unheld by grandchildren.  “Listen to your children,” he says.  He hopes that they can hear. 

Cat meows, demanding to be fed. 

He rises and goes to the pantry, selects a can without looking.  He opens it and sets it on the floor.  Cat begins to eat.

He returns to his newspaper.  “We share time and space, you and I,” he says, staring at all the smiling faces.  “We have not met and yet, I know you.  You are full of goals and ambitions and wants.”

Years ago, he told his wife that all he wanted was a bit of peace and quiet; to somehow dull the constant thunder of children’s screams and feet thumping up and down stairs.  All he’d wanted was a bit of order; a sliver of silence inserted into his day.

“I shall go to the cemetery today, Cat,” he says, looking up from his paper.  “To visit my family.”

The cat sits and licks a paw. 

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was thunder.

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Silence

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Silence


All is quiet in his pristine house.  He sits at the kitchen table listening as Cat approaches, her gimpy leg dragging on gray tiles, orange tail curled in a question mark.  Cat rubs against his leg and he wonders which of them enjoys this brief moment of touch more.

He lifts his teacup from its saucer and takes a small, tentative sip before setting it back onto the saucer with a satisfactory clink.

The refrigerator buzzes. 

The heat kicks in.

The clock marks time from its post above the stove.

But time no longer matters.

He sighs and unfolds the newspaper.  He pulls out the style section and studies the pictures.  He likes the close-ups.  He likes to see everyone smiling. 

He runs a brittle thumb over the image of a couple recently-engaged.  “Listen to your hearts,” he tells them.  “Don’t get caught up in careers and money and silly concerns.”

The couple continues to smile.  Not a care in the world.  He studies the backs of his weathered hands; hands untouched, uncaressed, unheld by grandchildren.  “Listen to your children,” he says.  He hopes that they can hear. 

Cat meows, demanding to be fed. 

He rises and goes to the pantry, selects a can without looking.  He opens it and sets it on the floor.  Cat begins to eat.

He returns to his newspaper.  “We share time and space, you and I,” he says, staring at all the smiling faces.  “We have not met and yet, I know you.  You are full of goals and ambitions and wants.”

Years ago, he told his wife that all he wanted was a bit of peace and quiet; to somehow dull the constant thunder of children’s screams and feet thumping up and down stairs.  All he’d wanted was a bit of order; a sliver of silence inserted into his day.

“I shall go to the cemetery today, Cat,” he says, looking up from his paper.  “To visit my family.”

The cat sits and licks a paw. 

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was thunder.

Labels:

28 Comments:

At May 1, 2012 at 6:45 AM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

So poignant. I like how deliberately you used each little household sound to emphasize the silence -- well done.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 7:07 AM , Anonymous Karen said...

Oh, how very melancholy. I agree with Annabelle. You totally had me in that kitchen. What I especially love is that he selects a tea cup and saucer and is looking at the wedding announcements. I find them quite beguiling myself.

But the loss of that thunder, that's the real kicker. Great take on the challenge.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 7:14 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

I agree with Karen... Best line " He studies the backs of his weathered hands; hands untouched, uncaressed, unheld by grandchildren" Boy does that underscore his isolation.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 7:16 AM , Anonymous barbara said...

whoa! Concise and tight.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 8:29 AM , Anonymous Paula J said...

How spare. How wonderful.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM , Anonymous Shelton Keys Dunning said...

You never fail to deliver. Simply lovely.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Libby Rodriguez said...

Wow. Really moving and well done...

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Libby Rodriguez has left a new comment on your post "Silence":

Wow. Really moving and well done...

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Libby, your comment got lost somewhere, so I pasted it in. Thanks for reading and commenting.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you! I liked playing with sound in this piece.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thank you, Paula. I wanted to keep this as neat and quiet as the life he thought he wanted.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Barbara!

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Poor guy.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Karen,
I think he uses the saucer and tea cup because his wife would've wanted it that way. And in his prior life he never would have looked at the style section. Thanks for reading!

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:28 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Annabelle - The fridge kicked in right as I was working on this!

 
At May 1, 2012 at 11:52 AM , Anonymous Imelda said...

Oh, how sad. Your tale puts the noise of house and children in perspective. Very good response to the challenge.

 
At May 1, 2012 at 5:48 PM , Anonymous Scriptor Obscura said...

This is beautiful. What a lovely, sad, melancholy story this is. Beautiful writing here. A winner in my book for sure ... :)

 
At May 1, 2012 at 7:16 PM , Anonymous Gina said...

Loved the simply sounds you used to describe the environment. Quiet sometimes means lonely but thankfully, he has company. Nicely written.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 10:27 AM , Anonymous Ruby Manchanda said...

Stunner. Sad but beautiful.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 1:24 PM , Anonymous The JackB said...

The ending was really good- solid.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 2:57 PM , Anonymous The Gal Herself said...

Wow. The end really hit me. Very well done.

 
At May 2, 2012 at 8:12 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

You portrayed his aching sadness so well. I didn't expect that ending!

 
At May 3, 2012 at 5:23 AM , Anonymous Amanda said...

This really made me think - I've been missing my grandfather lately. It's interesting to think of a similar feeling from a different point of view.

 
At May 3, 2012 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous k~ said...

The words "be careful what you wish for, you might just get it all" come roaring back to mind.

 
At May 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM , Anonymous Jester Queen said...

Oh no. I'm so sad for his regret. Instead of being able to remember the things he did enjoy, he remembers the one he hated, the noise, and wishes he could have even that back. SO sad.

 
At May 4, 2012 at 7:33 AM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

I love the way you finish this. Your writing gets me every week and this one is no different. It's a sad tale, and it's beautifully written.Thanks so much for linking up.

 
At May 4, 2012 at 9:46 AM , Anonymous idiosyncratic eye said...

So sad. We can wish for silence but when it comes, how we miss them and that one line echoing in our head! :)

 
At May 4, 2012 at 10:08 AM , Anonymous Karen said...

Yes, I like that about the story. The influences of others mixed with the melancholy that age and experience brings.

 

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