Silence


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1. Silence

Silence.

Complete absence of sound. 

We all know the definition. The word pervades our world. As a giggling child in a plastic classroom, silence is a command. As a pubescent teen, rife with angst, silence takes the form of 'the silent treatment'. As a frantic parent, worn to the ground, silence is only dreamed of. In our delicate old age, silence is loneliness.

Yes, we know the definition.

But how many of us know true silence? How many of us know what it is like to be utterly silent? 

One could say our lives are peppered with silences. Every word left unsaid, every bitten tongue. Every coy note slid under doors and across tables. Every exchange of voiceless glances from across a crowded room. Every dark night in a warm bed before sleep. 

But life as we know it is rarely, if ever, completely absent from sound. Sound is everywhere. The song of a bird.The flutter of their wings. A cricket's cry. The crunch of leaves in the night. A rush of water. Wind in the trees.

The hum of distant motorways. The creak of a floorboard. The voice of a friend. The voice of a stranger. The cry of a baby.

TV, radio, the telephone. The whir of machines. The flicker of light bulbs.

Even the sound of our own breath, undulating from lungs like a tidal wave. Blood rushing in our own ears. A heart beat. Sound is everywhere.

Sound cannot be escaped. Until the end. Until all sound stops.

Imagine that the next word you speak is to be your last. Would you know which to choose? Would you know who to give it to? Our last sound, the very last contribution to the infinite sound wave of the universe, can hold so much power. More so than any sound we've ever made. More so than our first cry as a bloodied baby; more so than a gentle "I do." 

Our last sound before silence.

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