The prompt from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction site this week was ‘Silence’.
(This one has been published today, 27 May, at Postcard Shorts under the title “Sound of Silence“. Do you have a story to submit to them?)
Annabel did silence well, and in time I came to recognise that if silence was the first course in our daily encounters, then guilt would almost certainly turn out to be the second; liberally served, allowed to cool, and then to congeal into a glutinous mess that permeated every minute of my day.
Of course her silence wasn’t really silent, involving as it did plates being slammed on worktops, doors banging loudly and the odd expletive hissed under her breath, sending the dog scurrying for cover beneath the kitchen table, paws pressed over its ears to drown out the noise of her silence.
Since Annabel left me there is a different kind of silence in the house, regulated by the gentle ticking of the clock, the occasional creak of the dog’s basket as he shifts in his now peaceful sleep, and the murmur of lawnmowers meandering up and down the neighbourhood gardens; all things I never had the opportunity to hear before, as Annabel thundered silently about her business.
There is still the business of guilt to deal with, though I’ve found that my appetite for that has been dulled by the variety of my day, assuaged by my indulgence in previously forbidden pursuits, and blunted by the glorious, glorious peace of my daily existence.
It’s the dog who has been my undoing of course, with his exceptionally acute hearing convincing him that he could hear the silence under the cherry tree in our back yard – so persuasively it seemed that he felt compelled to dig up the source of the noise, to check whether it was that which he thought it was; as indeed it was, much to the horror of my neighbours.