• Nyara Choudhury


I sighed at the time. 11:23. 37 minutes left. Daniel wouldn't be home until tomorrow, he wouldn't after the fight we had this time. Good on him, more time to do god knows what he gets up to now. None of that matters now though, and none of it will ever. I think back to the woman. She lived down two buildings, the fire was still bright in my mind and the smoke still thick and dark. The firemen came rather quickly as usual and let it burn so that nothing was left but ashes, her entire life reduced to something blown away. It was horrid to think about really, an entire lifetime from childhood to elderly life, after all she clearly wasn't a young thing anymore. The firemen having no reactions either, all of them blurring with their dark hair and uniforms all with similar statures. Maybe they were all clones? I'd seen her on my way out from time to time. I remember her well, always very secretive and guarded, yet she always seemed to give a smile and a certain warmth that I could never place. The only time I'd remember that feeling was when my grandfather and I spoke together. Maybe they were similar souls from the same world. I began to laugh at myself and stroked the leather bound treasure in my hands. Similar souls? I had begun to sound like the author himself. Then again, would it all matter ultimately? My thoughts were all over the place, 5 minutes had passed already. Then again, I was all prepared with each and every book laid out next to my bed. At least my husband couldn't possibly interrupt, we had slept in separate rooms for years now. What was the point when the silence seemed to disturb the careful barrier we put between each other? With more walls meant more sound could be placed in between us, less silence, more of the mindless hum. Another 10 minutes. That makes 15 minutes from when I looked out the window and then back to the clock. 23 plus 15 equals 38. 60 minus 38 equals 12. I liked the numbers. Numbers made sense. When I was in school they didn't stress the numbers, learn how to count and you were done! My only real memory from school was getting in trouble. Apparently I had taken the numbers too far, counting the amount of chips I had, subtracting the amount I ate from what had previously been, adding up the amount of times the teacher had yelled at me for not watching the television, and counting each and every little line formed on her face from when she screamed. Clearly my parents were not amused when I told them the answer was 32. She was rather old. The only comfort I found that day was from my grandfather who winked at me and told me, “Good on you! If she found out how many wrinkles she had from all that yelling, she'd make good with that knowledge and learn to take it easier!”. He immediately pulled a nasty face to mock her and I laughed until tears were in my eyes. Being seven years old, this was the funniest thing in the entire world to me, like how getting my parents called was the worst thing. Tears pricked my eyes with the mention of my grandfather. I remembered crying was something I had learned from him too. He said we cry when we feel pain and I knew that already, or I thought I did. But when he died I knew what pain he was talking about. The unspoken kind, the one most people have whisper up at them until they're blocked out by the sound of the parlor walls. Oh! I almost tripped over one of the books. Silly me. It was the first one. Tears sprung to my eyes at the thought of how I first got it. It was a “special present” that only I could know about from my grandfather. It was a simple children's book compared to the dozens of others on the ground. With the screaming bright colors and the juvenile wording made me laugh. At one point I remember being so mad at it all. Why did children get to see this? Get to watch lovable characters go through silly situations that taught them such a simple lesson? Why did they have the chance to have the wonder and thrill of the who,what when,where, and why? But then more time passed and with more books came with more truth. Children needed the screaming colors so their minds would sit them down and force them to think and see and feel about the little bear trying to find his friend. So they could move onto the trials and tribulations of a strange man in a foreign world or the grief of a mother who lost her son. Where were those feelings now? Those thoughts? Two more minutes. I sat in the bed with a glass of water next to me and stared. I smiled and couldn't help but wonder why. Was it relief that I didn't have to hide anymore? Was it gratitude for the opportunity to live and read? It made me mad that after all the stories, all the poems, all the philosophical speeches I had read I could never place feelings well. Perhaps it was never meant for me. 12:00. It was time. I grab the pills and I try to remember the feelings one last time. The sour and heavy taste off an unhealthy amount of pills, the cool crisp water crawling down my throat as I swallowed and laid back, the weight of the book resting on my chest with my arms crossed over it, the soft smile still on my face, the pure darkness enveloping me warmly, and finally the best part of all… the sweet beautiful song of silence.

Recent Posts