Annabel did silence well, and I learned that if silence were my first course in our daily encounter, guilt would almost certainly be the second; liberally served, allowed to cool, before congealing into a suffocating, glutinous mess.
Her silence wasn’t really silent though. It involved plates smashing, carpet-sweepers banging, and the odd hissed expletive to send the dog scurrying under the kitchen table.
Since she left, there is a different kind of silence in the house; the gentle ticking of the clock, the occasional snore from the dog’s basket as he dozes peacefully, and the murmur of lawnmowers from neighbouring gardens; all things unheard before, as Annabel thundered silently about her business.
There is still the business of guilt to deal with, though that has been sublimated somewhat, blunted by the glorious peace of my daily existence.
It’s the dog who’s been my undoing of course; his exceptionally acute hearing convinced him that he could hear the silence under the cherry tree in our back yard. So much so he felt compelled to dig up the source of the noise, to check whether it was that which he’d imagined.
As indeed it was, much to the horror of my neighbours.
Sunday Photo Fiction invites short stories of up to 200 words in response to a photograph. This photograph reminded me of this story, which was published by Postcard Shorts a few years ago. A little judicious editing was necessary.