Hello, Silence, My New Friend

silenceI’ve never been the biggest fan of silence, Modern Philosophers.

Like they say, silence can be deafening.

The days after my divorce were definitely the darkest of my life.  I thought the silence at The House on the Hill was either going to consume me, or drive me mad.  This is such a large house, so to suddenly be all alone in it with most of the furniture gone was an experience that was simply unnerving.

My ex-wife and I had been together since my Sophomore year at NYU.  I had grown used to her always being there, the constant conversation, the sound of her puttering in the kitchen or working on the computer.

There was always some other noise in the house, and someone else who had vowed to be there to speak to me for better or worse.

When that person and her noise abandoned The House on the Hill, the silence made itself right at home.

It got so bad that I actually missed her snoring that would often wake me up in the middle of the night.

loud-silenceLast summer, after my beloved little black cat Banky left me, The House on the Hill fell silent again.  Once again, silence moved in and became a very unwanted house guest.

I didn’t realize how much noise Banky generated until his meows, purrs, and scampering across the hardwood floors were taken from me.

Of course, I had the sound of my crying to break the silence, but that didn’t do much to make me feel better.

Luckily, Cali and Luna arrived a month later, and silence hit the road.  The way those two furry little monsters raise hell in this place, I was sure silence would never return.

Unfortunately, it came calling again.  Ever since Christmas, I’ve received the silent treatment from the person who used to fill my life with joy, laughter, silliness, and love.

If you ever want to torture me, Modern Philosophers, give me the silent treatment.

ShhThe shunning does things to my insecurities that you couldn’t even imagine.  It’s one thing to be ignored by someone who doesn’t really matter to you, but to be banished to the land of silence by someone you love is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Since I am stronger now, I have been able to lessen the power that silence holds over me.  I’ve filled the quiet with new noises that move my life forward.

On Monday, an odd thing happened.  There were several people out sick at work, and while it was an extremely busy day, it was incredibly quiet.  Noticeably so.

Our office space is not set up well for privacy, so you hear every conversation going on around you.  As you know, some coworkers are just more…loquacious than others.  The new found silence was nice and certainly welcome.

silence llamaYesterday, I had the day off, and spent most of the day in silence as I got lost in my writing and went for a run.

When I returned to the office today, the noise was almost intolerable.  After so much silence, it was the constant chatter and the ringing of phones that seemed maddening.  I missed the silence.

Silence, once my sworn enemy, is now a desired companion.  Isn’t it weird how things change as you evolve and become more secure in who you are?

I’ll take your silence to mean that you agree…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Humor, Love, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Hello, Silence, My New Friend

  1. Pamela Edwards says:

    I think it changes in time . I enjoy my quiet time but then there are times i find i enjoy some noise .

  2. dfolstad58 says:

    Well written, I like the narrative style and the strength you have found so that silence is embraceable.

  3. grannyK says:

    *whispers* I love my quiet times, but too much of it can make me crazy, too!

  4. List of X says:


  5. List of X says:

    (this was my impression of silence) 🙂

  6. jan says:

    I grieve for your suffering. You’ve become a smile in my morning.

  7. hollie says:

    I crave silence. I wish I had silence at work. It is full of loud and annoying. And bitchy. and dramatic. And don’t get me started on the girl who clips her toenails at her desk.

  8. markbialczak says:

    You’re getting better, Austin. FYI. It’s not your problem. It’s now her woe.

  9. pamtanzey says:

    It’s nice to hear that you’re healing, and as always very well written.

  10. I hate it when it’s noisy, but it’s more repetitive noise that gets to me than anything else. I start making up rhythms in my head and annoying myself…

  11. Joseph Nebus says:

    It depends on the sort of silence. There’s the silence of the world being contemplative; there’s the silence of the world being restful; there’s the silence of the world aware a vampire werewolf in a hockey mask with a chainsaw is just about to burst through the pantry door. The first two of those I like. The third, less so.

  12. Ally Bean says:

    I enjoy silence more than most. I know that being immersed in noise, after a quiet period, can be upsetting for me. All that chatter and nonsense gets on my very last nerve. I’ve always figured that being comfortable with quiet was an introvert thing. Do you think that you’re an introvert?

  13. I’m sorry Austin, I’ll try to pick up all those pans I dropped.

  14. Christie says:

    I crave silence. It’s an elusive creature around here. If you find yourself in need of chaos and noise again Austin, maybe we can trade houses for a bit…of course my crazy family comes with mine!

  15. Ocean Bream says:

    It’s amazing how your change affects how things affect you! Puts it into perspective really. I used to live abroad in a land of heat and deserts, with the constant noise of the air conditioner going wherever I was, cars honking madly, people calling out in the apartment building, just noise noise noise everywhere! And in the summer holidays when I came back to the UK, the silence inside the houses, insulated and air-con-less, was deafening. But it was such a beautiful, wondrous feeling. All outer sounds were muffled. The first few days back were always filled with these periods of extremely loud, comforting silence and cold feet (yes, I loved my feet to be cold!). To this day, I associate silence with something comforting. I love the silence, she truly is an old chum.

  16. henriettamross14 says:

    I love silence, I have a real problem with sound

  17. Sabina says:

    I always have a fan on in my dorm room at school, and it was weird sleeping in my own bed at home without the white noise to mask the silence. I definitely understand.

  18. I like silence for reflection, and hearing the birds chirp and the breeze blow is lovely, but I like noise more. I grew up in a big family and I miss that kind of energy living solo. The pets help, like you mentioned. They come with their own little noises that become comforting. I am one to have the TV or music on when I’m at home, sometimes just for background noise.

    Great post!

  19. I’ve made the same transition in my life. I think it comes from beginning to appreciate our own company and being happily consumed by our own thoughts. Yes, the silent treatment from someone you love screams louder than any insult that could be hurled our way because what we hear instead is “you don’t matter enough to bother with” regardless of what the silence actually might mean or not mean. It could mean I’m too weak to talk, or I don’t want to hurt you any further, or any number of things, but those things aren’t what we take from it at all.
    Glad you’re appreciating your own company. It’s a sign of moving forward.

  20. Joy says:

    To my introverted self, silence is an essential part of daily living, but I didn’t figure out really how much I cherished it until I got divorced. Now, the silent treatment…that’ something else.

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