Sound. It shapes us. Makes us. It is us. We speak it. Hear it. Love it. But we hide. We fear a scream. A cry. Silence. Most of all we fear silence. Pause now, just for a moment. Listen. What is it you hear? A bird? A person walking by the room? Keep your eyes closed. What is it you see? Do you see the bird? Do you see the person walking by the room? Do you see the beauty? That's where our story takes us now, takes you now. There's a world out there, one far away, but maybe, by the end, will be closer. Crowd round, come, listen as I speak, watch as you hear.
There's a girl now, see here. She has brown hair, straight, as is the norm now, to keep away the straggly ends. Stark blue eyes, not like the ocean though, but like a flower, soft. Her age, how old do you think? Look closely now, have you noticed the scar on her left ear, or the lilt in her jaw? She's eighteen. She likes to walk along the path, past the brick homes and fenced off sites. New things are always being built. Watch her walk, she doesn't limp, but stands straight and tall. She prefers these places, where artificial sounds grab her ears and natural flourishes can be lost. Her name has not been mentioned has it? It's not important.
She's stopped by a building, a big grey one that reaches up to the sky. She lives on the 23rd storey. The elevator whirls as she waits patiently to arrive. She likes being shut in this little box, only being able to hear what man as presented to her; the click of machines.
No one's home when she slips through the door, she didn't expect anyone. Her greeting hangs empty in the air. She takes it back quickly, breathes in to return the sound to her lungs. It's stuffy in there. The window looks refreshing and she prises it opening, the birds scatter. Did you count the second it took for her to step back? Not even that really. The birds are gone now. Someone down below might see the small head pop out and breathe. She wants to sing in that moment, to let her voice ring out. But how could she join that which she hated?
Her hate for these noises, it was a difficult time for her. To do so her history must be returned to. Stay with her though, don't watch now, just heed. She was fifteen when she climbed to the top of that grey building, and stood upon the edge. Her foot had crumbled, and she had paused. It was that pause that did it, that pause that allowed her to hear the sounds up there. The soft float of the air, the chorus of birds. It was beautiful. So she had stepped back. It was not long later that she had regretted pausing. Every time she heard a song of beauty she was taken back to that day, and each day it had caused her pain. She was sixteen when she had taken a knife to her left ear. They could save the slit she had made. She still had to listen to the sounds each day, and each day it had caused her pain.
Come back now, to the present, where the girl is still resting with her head dangling from the window. She wants to sing now, to let her voice ring out. With the birds? She does not know. No one would hear her up here. But she would. To take herself into that world that she so despised. Quickly, I doubt you counted, she pulls herself in. The door has closed behind her. More artificial clicks of the elevator, she's thankful they don't play music.
The top floor, crumpled footsteps over the stairs. She's on the roof now. A plane flying above would not notice her, nor someone down below would see. She's hidden in this wide open space. Her foot has touched the edge. The small edge, she hasn't looked down yet. She opens her mouth. Will she sing? A noise comes, was it from her? She doesn't know. But it was. The birds don't shout, the wind doesn't flow. She's singing. It's beautiful. Silence. A bird flies through and interrupts her choral, then trails off elsewhere. It didn't hurt. Silence in her singing. Beautiful silence. Mouth open wide, throat clenching, a song coming out. She's never sung like this, never in such a beautiful way. She can hear nothing, but see everything. It makes her wonder why people hate silence so. She's asking the question of anyone who will hear. You've heard right? Tell us, why do people hate silence so? Oh, there's just one thing first.
You can open your eyes now.