Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Roaring Silence

The room is on the third floor of an office building that is 6 stories tall. It is an office space that is nearly empty and lacking any kind of expected adornments. The floor is covered in a slightly dirty, dark blue carpet. The windows are about 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. They open by sliding the glass up. They are all open right now. A gentle breeze filters through the room, flowing from one open window to another. The hallway door is open as well and so are the elevator doors beyond, the emergency lights quietly flashing on and off. On one corner there are cut telephone wires hanging out of the wall and the shadows of desks and file cabinets can still be detected on the carpet. There are long fluorescent lamps above us, attached to the white ceiling, all turned on, all throwing off a soft hum that reverberates throughout the space and resonates with the sound of the wind outside.
On the street below there are no cars, nor the distant sound of them. Across from our window, there are other windows, other buildings. All the windows are open, all are silent and welcoming of the breeze that flows in from the street. There are no pedestrians, no sound of people calling or complaining, no children crying, no hint of rush or conflict, no human activity at all. The traffic lights are flashing on and off for nobody. Many little pieces of paper blow all about the city. I can’t make out the text, but they all have the same thing printed on them. A neon sign is crackling just outside the window and the sound of our breathing acts as a calm soft ostinato to its constant electric variation. The sky is bright purple and there are no stars and no sun and no moon. It is too light to be night and too purple to be day.
He sits on a small metal chair across from me. He is about 25 years old, a bit heavy set, with a round friendly face, thick arms laced with muscle and a round belly. He is wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes. There are some tattoos on his arms and a scar on his lower neck. His face is overgrown with the beginning of a beard and his hair is cut very short, mostly brown with just a hint of yellow. His eyes are clear and wide open and so is his mouth. He breathes in slowly and with some effort. It takes all the will that he can muster to remain in the chair and stay calm. I can see that the corners of his eyes long to look out the windows once more, to confirm what he has seen, to try to visually come up with some kind of explanation, something that will make it all clear and understandable.
I sit on a small wooden stool and I also breathe very slowly and with some difficulty. I am wearing a white buttoned up shirt, black corduroy pants and black shoes. I have a long scraggly beard and very long black hair, tied up in a pony tail. I wear a circular medallion under my shirt, a metal talisman with a tiny pyramid at its center. My arms are at my sides and my hands rest on my lap. My knees are together and I make recurring efforts to maintain them in place. My eyes are also wide open and staring deeply into my companion’s eyes. We both can sense the delicate nature of the situation, the crawling wave of fear and panic that threatens to break us apart. Neither of us gives in to it.
We both continue to breathe, as deeply and as slowly as possible. The breeze lifts little strands of hair over our faces and tickles at our nose. The hum of the lights seems to hint at a deeper drone, something heavier coming up from deep underneath us, something that is too complete, too final and too powerful to be allowed completely into this room, into this space between us, right now. Each time the drone gets louder, his eyes widen a bit and mine do as well. I nod ever so slightly, we breathe together and the drone descends again, fading into the soft hum of the lights. The breeze blows between us again and we exhale, savoring a tiny moment of relative rest.
The drone, the solitude, the bright purple sky, the roaring silence, the little pieces of paper that constantly fly by the window… all like the very peak of an enormous wave that threatens to overwhelm us and take us with it, along with everything around us, dissolving us into the indistinct void from which we were originally formed. We sit together at the very peak of this awesome force beyond our comprehension and we slowly… ever so slowly and gently… take another breath.

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