Bookmark #322

At the zero word mark, there is nothing but sound. The clock ticks in another room, equal intervals, naturally. It tells your right ear time is passing, and you say nothing for you know. There’s more; the vehicles outside, the honking, the one guy who uses it to craft a tune as he cruises through the street; the sound of the wheels and the engines—some roaring, some soft, all of them in unison.

At fifty or so words, there’s more still. Some construction in the neighbourhood, the repetitive striking of a hammer, starting with equally spaced knocks but going faster as whatever is being driven into whatever takes its place. A nail, perhaps, you wonder. What else could it be? Then, another series of knocks speeding up with the enthusiasm of a child banging a toy on the floor.

It’s about two hundred words now, or so you think, and the washing machine in the washout right beside where you’re sitting is playing a song of its own: the motor whirring at its own pace, the symphony of a mechanical twirl as clothes spin inside it serving as a first-rate lyric of a song you aren’t quite enjoying but don’t mind. Then, the sound of the keys on your keyboard as you write further, thinking about nothing much but how to deafen the noise. Then, you stop to take a sip of the coffee which is probably colder than it was already when you began writing—slurp! You set the mug down on the bed, a muffled thump.

Just then, someone talks too loudly on the road, or the building beside you, maybe. Why are they so loud? You listen in on the conversation, half out of annoyance, half interest; finding nothing of significance, you get back to the words. You tread on, a car is unlocked. Inching towards the end of it now, you hear a leaky tap! You cannot quite place it; it could be in the washout, masked so far by the machine, now in its drying cycle. A vendor on the street passes by—his voice growing louder with his approach.

Almost done, you hear your breath now, soft but audible—the inhalation, the exhalation. As you reach the end of this unique sensory experience, a crescendo! And then, nothing. All noise fades; there is no sound now.

There’s only silence. You can now start the day.