I hear it in the morning, when I wake up alone. I hear it as I press snooze five more times
before getting out of bed and facing consciousness. I hear it when I look in the mirror and can't
recognize the person I see. I hear it even when I do recognize the person, but realize she's a
nobody, anyway.

I hear it in the car when the radio stops playing music and there are only commercials on. I hear it as
I watch traffic, observe pedestrians, and sympathize with roadkill. I hear it when I stare out
onto the vast expansion of gravel and concrete, of buildings and fast-food chains, thinking that
hell has already frozen over.

I hear it when I'm at work, sitting at my gray cubicle, shuffling papers
and inputting data onto a blank screen. I hear it when I'm at the copier waiting for
my file to be done, when I'm drinking a cup of water, when I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing here.
I hear it when I feel my veins burn with the inexplicable frustration of not being able to live the life I want.

I hear it when I'm out with friends, smoking in front of the shopping mall. I hear it in the back of my mind
when we laugh and joke about immaterial things. I hear it as I force a smile and act like I don't give a shit,
because I'm out of the house and killing time. I hear it when I remember that happiness is short-lived.

I hear it when I get back home and sit before the computer for hours at a time, refreshing the same page
over and over again just to see if anything has changed. I hear it as I wait for my microwave dinner to heat up.
I hear it when I stick said microwave dinner in my mouth and ignore the fact that it tastes like styrofoam and
cardboard. I hear it when I realize my stomach is both empty and full.

I hear it right before I go to bed, when I'm tucking myself in under the covers, trying to keep warm. I hear it
when my neck hurts from all of the tossing and turning. I hear it in my dreams, sometimes, right before I see you
and ask why I wasn't enough—

I hear it when I press my fingers against my throat and feel my heart beat. I hear it ringing in my ears when
all is muted and still. I hear it when parents and siblings yell at each other, when there are ambulances
running up and down the streets, when the wind howls against my window, and when I'm choking on the
unintelligible screams in the back of my swollen throat.

Do you know what I hear every minute of every day of my life?

I hear the voice in my head calling out your name. Your name, as if it succinctly summarized everything about
who you are, who you were, and what you meant to me. Your name has become everything I once found beautiful
and wondrous in this world—and also everything that causes me to shudder, my innards to ache, and the color of
my eyes to fade away.

It kills me to hear it. I'd do fucking anything to get rid of it; even hold the barrel of a gun to the side of my head.
To erase you from my mind, well, darling, I'd blow my own brains out. Even then, I bet the blood spattered across
the floor would spell out your name—immortalized as the reason why I lived, and the reason why I died.

But I won't do that. I won't give you that kind of power. I'd rather that, in the ultimate end, you and I burned
to ashes and were swept away by the winds of time; to be forever lost and, most importantly, forgotten.

And then I shall rest knowing that
under no circumstances will I hear your name—
or mine—ever again, because
we will have become the silence I never had.