The Loudest Silence

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The soft tick emerging from the tiny clock across from me rang throughout the silent room. Laying my head against the hard wall that I stood against, I stared at the bland ceiling above me as silence enveloped the empty office. Although I enjoyed the absence of sound, standing in the silent room caused aggravation to fill my veins mercilessly as the silence from the room enclosed around me hastily.

Silence was powerful, and it was incredibly dangerous. It was the one thing that forced you to submit to the tornado of thoughts shuffling in your brain at an inhumane pace. Despite the many efforts to avoid those very thoughts, you soon come to the realization that one cannot escape from themselves. It is inevitable and your demons will catch up to you, and soon it just becomes a matter of how soon. Unfortunately for me, they’ve caught up to me, and now I am in a constant battle with the demons haunting me. I live in a whirlwind of thoughts that plague my mind constantly, leaving me to think about every single moment in my life leading to where I am now.

It was torturous.

It felt like living in my own personal hell, and there was no escape.

As I stood there engulfed in my thoughts, my drooping eyes fought to shut, exhaustion oozing from my tired state. I ran a gruff hand down my face as an attempt to wake myself, but was distracted by the rough stubble that scraped my palm. Internally groaning, I realized that my appearance most likely resembled that of a homeless man and nowhere near the typical college frat boy I needed to look like. I pushed the heavy sleeves of my leather jacket up my arms before running a hand through my hair as an attempt to make it look decent.

The loud slam of a door rang across the room diverting my attention towards a smiling figure a few feet away from me. The middle aged woman filed into the room, her strawberry blonde hair bouncing with every step she took. I stood up and flashed a small smile at her as she moved towards me quickly. I was caught by surprise when she suddenly engulfed in a bear hug but still welcomed her motherly embrace that reminded me of my own mothers. It felt like ages since I even had a proper conversation with her, let alone a hug.

“I swear you grow a foot taller each time I see you.” She exclaimed as she pulled back from the hug to stare up at me. A deep laugh rumbled from me as I stepped back from her.

“It’s been a long time, Mrs. Williams.” I replied lightly as I looked down at her tiny frame. The glowing smile dropped from her face as she looked at me solemnly.

“You’re a hard man to reach out to. Always throwing yourself into work, never coming around to visit any of us.” She responded as she crossed her arms against her chest. Her tone that was cheerful earlier, was now hard and disapproving.

I let out a sigh and pinched the bridge of my nose before replying.

“Things have been rough for a while, and I’m sorry for not visiting more often.” Her angry face diminished as looked at me with sad eyes.

“You’ve probably heard this a lot but I’m still going to say it. Things will get better, wounds heal with time.” She advised sweetly as she soothingly placed a hand on my shoulder.

“I hope so.” I mumbled quietly before giving her a tight lipped smile.

We stood in a comfortable silence for a few seconds before Mrs. Williams clapped her hands together loudly. I looked down at her confused, but she simply began walking to her desk and began shuffling through a few files.

She stood there fumbling with the papers and mumbling to herself before she found what she needed and approached me again.

“Your boss went ahead and informed me of why you’re here and the items necessary, and I think I have everything set and ready for you. These files are legal papers in case anything comes up and this right here is your dorm key.” She explained as she held up a pile of papers in one hand and a key in the other.

“You’re a miracle worker.” I announced as I happily accepted the items from her.

“So I’ve been told, just don’t get caught. I’m only doing this because you saved my kids life and I will forever be grateful for that, even if it means potentially losing my job for sneaking this.” She informed before she began gathering her papers that lay scattered on the desk.

“This mission will be finished quickly, I don’t plan on allowing any distractions.” I declared confidently she nodded in agreement.

“I’ll be here almost every day of the week, so check in with me if you need anything.” She stated before taking a seat in front of her desk. She began typing away, most likely replying to emails and was soon lost in her own little world.

I nodded in understanding and stuffed the key into my pant pocket as I turned to leave. “Thanks again.” I hollered to her. I didn’t wait for a response from her and quickly made my way out of the tiny office. The chilly early morning air greeted me as I began the long trek back towards the car lot. Pulling my jacket closer, I stuffed my hands into my pockets and continued walking down the empty pavement.

As I made the walk back, I looked around the campus that I had walked a few years ago as mere teenager. Memories flooded my mind of what life was like when things weren’t so different. As much as I didn’t want to, I could never stop myself from reminiscing the past.

Though the memories felt like salt being poured on a wound, they made me feel alive for the small amount of time I allowed myself to reminisce.

And although the few minutes were short lived, they made me feel more alive than I had in years.

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