Two-hundred square feet holds an immense amount of silence.
I sit in my small chair, with its needlepoint seat and the fragile, repaired back for nearly an hour — reading, watching my phone for messages. Someone from whom I wanted to hear did not text. My sister sent an update on my brother’s spinal cord surgery. I keep reading. I have not combed my hair today, nor put away the food gathering bacteria in the cast-iron pan. The jays screech as they dart to and from the china bird-feeder, looking for their evening meal. Oblivious, I remain seated with my eyes on the text.
I turn virtual page upon virtual page with a crystal glass of water at hand. I cross and uncross my tender ankles. I wrinkle my nose as the wind rises and brings the fragrance of someone’s grill.. The light fades. Into my inbox drops notice of five dead in Maryland. Behind that grim confirmation, a seller advises that my order has been shipped. I briefly contemplate the potential that the recipient will not like my gift. I dismiss the thought with an unchecked sigh. I turn another page with a flick of my finger on the screen.
The silence weighs heavy on me, a burden that I did not expect. I brush tattered thoughts from my mind and let my hands fall into my lap. Of everything that I left in Kansas City, I yearn most for hiding places. I sigh. I rise. I shrug off the gloom of my thoughts and walk out to the porch where genuine darkness gathers. I take in a long draw of fresh evening air. I listen to the chattering of my neighbors. I turn, and feel the silence in my home. After a few minutes, I shake my head and open the screen door. I bring something sweet and hopeful with me, into the quiet of the empty house.
It’s the twenty-eighth day of the fifty-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.