Writing helps …when I can’t reach for music. Read when you have time. It’s lengthy. Forgive any errors. I was upset when writing this.
Silence. Death. And my daughter who is way too smart.
My daughter calls it the void. ‘I want to go back Mother…’ she says, after complaining about life and all the people in it. This is followed by an imaginary dive towards my uterus, the stillness of my body being the quickest and easist solution. I smile. The kid is a weirdo. Clearly, something she got from her father. I leave her smiling while I go in search of silence.
I walk into the small library manned by three librarians who do not look the part. Instead of Stoic silences one is accustomed to in movies (produced by Enligh people with too much time and barely enough imagination), my library is filled with noise. Mostly from the librarians themselves, their phones blasting the latest oh so funny trends on social media or a family member singing happy birthday. They laugh generously and the old white people say nothing, an oddity in a small town. How could they possibly complain? The noisy librarians’ eyes sparkle with laughter and ease. Something they are running out of.
But the books are too noisy. I touch their spines and watch carefully as the covers try to seduce me. Finally, I give in. One can only resist temptation for so long. I open a book only to be confronted by Berlin. Someone died here whispers the book. Don’t you want to find out eh? But I have no interest. Berlin, one of the places I can’t wait to visit and get lost in. But with my luck I will fall in love, write great music and leave with a ravenous heart. Not today Berlin. Keep your murder and mystery to yourself. I am heading home.
My bedroom is littered with books. On my headboard. In my cupboard, on and under my bed, in my car, my bag. Words and explanations for everything. The Middle Ages, thanks Tom Holland. The historian, not the silly boy actor who so desperately wants to be taken seriously. Books explaining the lives of the Rat Pack, Louis Armstrong, Billy Holiday, a Voodoo Priestess living in Harlem ( I wonder if Mama Lolla is still alive). Words explaining everything. How to stay in love, the meaning of flowers, the history of music of art. Even death.
Is death silent also? Perhaps that’s what us ‘way too alive and complaining’ folk like to believe. Death has no voice. Or if it does, we can’t understand it. Too many dialects and secret codes. Monks and old men tried to decipher it for so long haven’t they? And then made a killing with their half truths on sale, that we gobble up in our grief and desperation.
Only women know the truth. Death is noisy. Perhaps noisier than being alive. A part of me always felt sorry for famous dead people. Picture the scene. Dead famous dude chilling out in the ethers. Maybe he is finally reading that book he never got to…because you know….drugs drugs and prostitutes. And let’s not get started on his family, the many children he never paid attention to and the debt collectors! I digress. So there he is, just trying to find some peace. When he feels a tug here and a scratch there. Do you wanna know why? Some silly teen girl thinks listening to his ‘stuff’ makes her edgy as fark. And so a small string all the way from earth to wherever this dead dude is chilling….keeps him tethered to the earth plane! Now imagine what it would feel like if he has millions of fans. Fuck, now you are stuck just like the rest of is bucko! Death isn’t the end. I made a promise to myself to leave the dead alone. I will only speak when I have something to say.
Of course, the dead famous dude has no left leg, even if he is dead and famous. Rules are rules my man. Ouch dammit. Stop talking! Gimme silence, I can hear the dead famous prick shouting! I feel your pain. Except I dont give a single fuck about you or whatever you wasted years of your life creating. No wonder my daughter says I am cold. Perhaps she has a point.
All I want is silence. But unlike the dead famous dude, I know the rules. I know how to work the system. I feed the people around me and clean as best I can. Spick and span the home is. Washing off the line and folded up. Animals fed and yes, there you go. Have some tea and a biscuit. Of course I baked it myself. Only for you. But It’s all just a ploy to be left alone. Sure, I get brownie points knowing the people I care for are happy. Perhaps in a past life I was an Italian Mama forever baking and sipping on something slightly dangerous when they were all gone. Anyhoo, in the end I win. I found a way to carve peace into my very noisy world.
Death is noisy. As is life and every part of everywhere you go. Do you wanna know what the best part about being alive is? I get to change my mind, especially after feeding everyone and parking off in the sun. Once I said I want a love that feels like music. My daughter was right when she said, after I confessed to despising musicals, ‘Mother, your entire life is a musical.’ The kid is way too smart for her own good. I can turn a boring every day thing into a song and dance. Even the darkest and most horrid experience will be reduced to garbled words in my notebooks beside the piano. My shadows and wicked thoughts fitting snugly between not so carefully chosen chords. Anchored to words on paper, the worst of it…diminished and augmented.
If my entire life is a damn musical while death is equally noisy, I am well within my right to change my mind about love. I no longer want a love that feels like music. Way too much drama and angst my man. Give me this instead. A lover whose fingertips feel like the great silence I am always in search of. So I can finally sleep, dream and wake up in peace.