Word Count 500
Sometimes what we do not say speaks more loudly than what we do say. If you hear only my words, you will hear half-truths. You must listen to my silence. Then you will hear all. Things you already know, and things you never dreamed to be so. The words I leave unsaid are like the shadows created by mid-morning sun—furtive and fleeting, quickly banished, but good at obfuscating what needs hiding.
We each guard tiny pieces of ourselves we do not share. The secrets we hold are steeped in silence. Secure. Breaking silence we risk betrayal. Become vulnerable.
I have come to realize some seek to expose their own secrets. Revel in the horrified shock with which people react to this exposure of cloistered information. Some do not wish the private to remain private.
Unlike my talkative counterparts, I have become adept at guarding my vulnerable underbelly. I am a spotted fawn, curled just so, motionless, without smell or sound, hidden right underfoot in the tall meadow growth. I am a fritillary, newly emerged, still clinging to the transparent sheath of my chrysalis. My noiseless existence attracts no predators. I am a rabbit in the grass, soundless as I nibble green shoots and tender clover buds—soundless unless unexpectedly cornered by dog or fox. Then I shriek into the quiet of plants growing and quail eggs nestling under camouflaged adult. Shriek to deflect attention away from my secret, my hidden thoughts. Having successfully averted prying minds, I delve again into the profound depths of silence.
If you listen, you might hear my lack of noise and recognize it for what it is: the counterpoint to speech. Vast, unmitigated truth.
Silence has long dictated my comings and goings—dominated my life. Some would say I have gone mute—or mad. Indeed, it is with great physical effort that I converse for extended periods. Headache buzzing in the hollow of my brain follows common discourse. Migraine, exhaustion and often heartburn (acidic reflux, yes, but also an actual clenching of that vital organ) are the price I pay for lengthy conversation. This overstimulation mimics a caffeine rush—frenzied synapses firing, my veins alive as though infiltrated by Mexican jumping beans. Incapacitating as the physical effects can be, the emotional toll is sometimes worse. Especially the gnawing anxiety that I have said too much—revealed my beliefs (I do not always follow the accepted dogma.) Given away secrets (I have done things in my life I am not proud of.)
Words spoken cannot be unsaid. Fortunately, I am a writer, not a talker. I know how not to leave a paper trail, and how to keep my own counsel. My protracted pause enables me to edit, censor, distill my discourse. Avoid a disastrous slip of the tongue. I have said too much already. You will know to search my silence.
If I see you ‘listening’ I shall merely hit ‘delete’, and leave you deciphering the silence of a screen gone blank.