Voices in the Calm
When I grew old, I spoke to the dead and they spoke to me. I heard them, clear as if they were standing in the room with me. They told me their stories, just as I tell mine to you. I answered them, and asked them questions. My neighbors could hear me chatting through the door and the walls, apparently to no one. They thought me odd but I was harmless, so they left me alone. They whispered that I’d gone mad after my husband died, and my son a year later. Some said I talked to the dead in my imagination because I couldn’t stand to be alone. Others believed I imagined the dead to be alive because I was afraid to die. If the dead were alive, then I need not be afraid of death. Most assumed the dementia of old age had set in and I was just imagining things.
But they were wrong about everything.
I also spoke to the dead when I was young. But then life got busy and I no longer had the time for them. But the main reason was that the noise of the world, the noise of my own questions and worries inside my head, crowded out any other voices. I could no more hear them than I could perceive a hushed whisper across a noisy, bustling train station. I could not stop the noise, nor did I think to do so. Whatever was inside my head was me, and that took up all my mental energy and attention.
But then, eventually, I found myself old and alone. I had lived long enough to be philosophical about life. I no longer worried or questioned. I simply accepted. And finally, once again, it was quiet enough to listen.
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Note: this one’s kinda meta, isn’t it?