The Girl Who Would Be Silence

Silence. It was what she sought out purposefully with all of the intention of a jackhammer breaking apart concrete. It was elusive, however, just like Santa or the Tooth Fairy. She could not remember when this quest for silence began. When she was ten she thought to take a vow of silence, but of course her mother pointed out the impracticality of that idea. How would she be able to answer questions directed to her by her teacher? She would surely be singled out a disrespectful, or even worse, a weird child. And God forbid she fall into a raging river, what then? She would most certainly have to yell for help. Never mind the fact that the nearest river was 62.8 miles away from her house, arguing with her mother was about as futile as hitting a piñata with a pussy willow. After giving it some thought, she was able to resign herself to the death of her vow of silence knowing that it would make very little difference if she still had to listen to the chit and the chatter of everyone else.

All of the chatter and noise that surrounded her was like a hive of bees in her head, a hive that had been knocked down from a tree by a little boy wielding a very big stick. The bees were angry. The bees were loud. And the bees were always buzzing. They chased her thoughts with their stingers ready to strike, dripping not with honey, but with hostility. And so in an attempt to escape the belligerent buzzing of the bees and their eager stingers, she jumped into a lake deep within her mind. She retreated so far within herself that she became lost to those who knew her.

The water was frigid at first, until her muscles relaxed into it. She imagined this was what death was like, a complete and total surrender of flesh, but more importantly, a complete and total surrender of mind. So she adapted ways to remain anchored in this self-made lake. Rocking back and forth, whether sitting at her desk in school or riding in the backseat of her mother’s VW station wagon, the rhythmical rocking was hypnotic and helped to keep her mind still, so still in fact, that the bees could not see her. She was tethered to the bottom of the lake, fixedly floating like an aquatic field of Hydrilla. She could see the tiny specks buzzing above the surface of her lake, like some creation on an etch-a-sketch, searching futilely for her, but she was safe in her underwater sanctuary.

And so the hours turned into days, turning into weeks and months, and as it always happens years began to pass by. So many attempts were made to place a label upon her. Strange, shy, stupid, boring, freak…but the labels never made it to her. They stuck to the surface of her lake, floating like delicate white water Lilies, until the words bled from the paper and the ink turned into beautiful, colored swirls. They became her Aurora Borealis.

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