Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Silence

It's high noon, I'm working at home and I just found I needed a break. I'm working on a draft of a would-be booklet for a program I have little... I want to say love, but it might be more accurate to say, i have little appreciation of instead. So I blog for a while, hoping I will find inspiration in movement of thought and fingers.

The momentary silence just makes me appreciate how silent my neighbourhood is. You can't expect to hear this sounds in the big city. Sabi nga nila, only in the suburbs.

This is what I hear:

The postman's motorbike just passed and stopped in front of our neighbour's house, two lots away. He's calling out "Tao Po, sulat!" and was answered by a loud, "Para kanino?" You see there are 2 families living in that sprawling lot, relatives but with different surnames.

A dog padded by. Seriously. You can hear the "tik, tik, tik" of its steps as it made its way down our street.

I hear roosters crowing for noon. I hear a mother and a daughter chatting while walking home from school. Their actual topic is indiscernible, of course. But it's quiet enough for me to hear the laughter in their voices. Oh, lunch. They're talking about lunch. The girl just asked "Anong ulam natin?"

I hear birds chirping. I almost didn't because you get used to it; they sing all the time around the house. They perch on our trees, and chatter amongst themselves. On more than one occassion, I've wondered what they're so busy talking about. I hope they're telling each other they love our trees. Or how pretty the flowers in the garden are.

A blue car passed by. Unusual for this time of day. Most of our neighbours work in the surrounding cities, and usually arrives late in the afternoon or way into the evening. Maybe he's a newlywed man who misses his pretty wife. Maybe it's a father who wants to surprise his daughters in the middle of their lunch of Maggi chicken noodles and rice. Well, that's how I would want to imagine it. That used to make me so happy.

The silence of our street makes me feel both full and empty, strange isn't it? There's enough silence for me to engage all of my senses and make me feel alive. But empty because, inside the house, I don't feel like I'm participating in the world. I should be at work right now. But that same knowledge of where I should be gives me a feeling of reprieve. Makes me think it is a wonderful gift to be able to have this silence, when I should be surrounded by chattering workmates right now, or humming computers. I search for silence in my work, and I can't, so you can often find me with earphones stuck in my ears. My theory is, if you're not gonna have silence, might as well have control over what soundtrack your day plays to.

Oh, empty. The house is so empty. And I miss my parents in this silence. Quiet always brings them back to me. If it's quiet enough, I can imagine the two of them talking in the dining room. I can almost hear Mummy cooking lunch. Daddy would climb the stairs soon enough, and ask me what I'm doing. He'd tell me what our lunch is. Probably fried fish and sinangag. I wish...

I wish I did this more often, back then. The last few months when they were both off work. I wish I stayed home more often as well. Why was I so busy? What was I so frenetic about? Why didn't I embrace this silence when I could still share it with them?

Then silence wouldn't be this empty. No, silence would be lovely.

And after lunch, they'll have a short nap inside the downstairs bedroom. They'll both be snoring. I would be smiling, watching them sleep. Until finally, I feel drowsy myself and I lie beside them, hearing their heartbeats, feeling their breaths on my cheek, smelling Vicks vaporub, and fried fish, and the smell of the afternoon sun on our pillows, the bedsheets. I would close my eyes, and be silent and still.

And sleep.

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