I think silence is such a pretty sound. Not the sound of nothing, like when you are absolutely alone and nothing is around. I mean the sound of your mind when you are sitting quietly. Content. Maybe people in the background are talking. Perhaps a TV is on. Maybe birds are chirping or rain is falling. But there is a peacefulness in your soul.
I have not felt that in a long time.
I work with kids. Sad kids, needy kids, rude kids, kids who will smile and joke and make the entire class laugh all while avoiding direct eye contact with anyone. Kids who wear a mask over their numbed pain. Kids who use memes and other stupid things to hide the shining desperation in their eyes. They smile so wide that it hurts, it screams. “See me! See me! Please just see me!” all without saying a word. Their insides are charred and broken from unseen wars.
These kids are too young for this.
I want to carry them with me to a forest or a field and have us all close our eyes and breathe fresh air and appreciate our beautiful existence.
I want them to feel that silence. It can cure, almost like magic.
My kids would laugh. A bitter and sad sound to mock my foolish ideas because magic doesn’t exist. Fairytales and happy endings don’t exist. But they don’t know that fairytales helped me reach adulthood.
So instead, I play violin music, and touch their shoulder, and tell them they are special. It’s like giving a lollipop to a kid in a war-ravaged country, but have you ever seen their eyes? The way they light up like I could somehow guarantee them lifelong happiness? It would curl the corners of your soul.
That silence holds so many things with it. Like love.
I used to never think about love. Never thought it applied to me.
I’ll never forget when a guy mentioned that he would like to marry me, though he would never be able to sleep with me or even kiss me because we weren’t that type of love. I couldn’t even feel love. The way he’d said it too. So casual. Not a trace of anger or mocking in his words. He had meant them, and he believed them.
You’re not capable of feeling love, he said.
I think about that often.
Am I a psychopath? What am I? I love my family. I love my kids. Never a boyfriend. Never a first kiss.
I had a crush on a boy once with gorgeous dark hair and pale eyes. Why? There wasn’t a reason, but I was convinced that he was good. Even when he wasn’t. He never spoke to me, but was just another self-obsessed individual trying to survive, searching for someone to help frame his picture of himself. He is normal.
But in my silence, when I am content and happy, I think myself in love. With what? Not myself and certainly not another person.
Would I be okay without the people I love?
Yes, I think so.
There is a man I think I love. I know he loves me because of his eyes. The way he smiles. It makes me uncomfortable to think of someone being in love with me, opening doors for me, buying me cans of chicken soup when I’m sick, and reading my stories and telling me they’re good even when they’re not.
Why does it make me uncomfortable? Because I can’t feel love? Because if something were to happen to him I think I would be okay?
So many people want this. I guess I can understand that. It’s nice.
Is it because I am able to hypnotize myself into this silent, content state? Where nothing outside the walls of my mind can affect me? And I am alone, but not empty. I am the opposite of empty. Is this what Buddha felt?
I don’t know what Buddha’s silence was like, but with mine, my mind is not empty. I think about the universe. So many things are wrong. So many people are angry and depressed about the wrong, but is it not beautiful? I think it’s beautiful.
The stars, the seas, and all the tiny people who are so insignificant yet so unique. Some are evil, and some are good, and some just want to live. I want to help them all, but maybe I will just help a few. And that’s good enough to make me satisfied.
I appreciate the existence and stop thinking about everything that’s wrong and everything that could make me angry because what does that anger ever accomplish? It only leads to depression. So I thank God for a chance to do some good. To help my kids and the man who loves me with what love I can feel. And I trust God will look after them too.
If they knew, they might laugh and mock because fairytales don’t exist, but fairytales are what helped me get to adulthood.
Photo by Meritt Thomas