The Loudest Silence

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I land a forceful punch to the bag swinging left and right in front of me. Beads of sweat roll down my face as I breathe heavily. My hair, damp from sweat, falls over my eyes as I continue punching the bag. My knuckles ache from the force of the punches, yet I continue punching the bag. The more I punch, the faster my hand will numb.

That way I wouldn’t have to feel the pain.

I silently scoff at myself.

Inflicting pain upon myself doesn’t help to numb the pain I feel on the inside.

I shake my head to dissolve the thoughts seeping into my head. I didn’t want to think right now, I wanted to do everything and anything to distract myself from the thoughts that threatened to cloud my mind. I continue punching the bag silently before I hear the door behind me open. I stop punching the bag and walk over to my duffle on the far right corner of the room. Pulling a water bottle out, I take large gulps of the water to quench my thirst. My eyes soon land on the person who entered the room seconds ago and now stood silently a few feet away from me.

Her bright blue eyes look emotionless as she stares at me from across the room. I continue to stand there and catch my breath when she finally speaks.

Her voice is small and frail.

“Mason.” She whispers as she crosses her skinny arms over her chest.

My dark eyes meet hers and I see the unshed tears brewing in them.

“What do you need.” I gruffly asked as I shifted my gaze towards the blank wall. I couldn’t stand staring into her eyes that were identical to his.

“I know you wanted to be alone today, but mom and I are leaving to go visit him.” She hesitantly answered as I tried to prevent my mind from revisting old memories that I had buried for so long.

“I don’t want to come.” I replied as I ran a hand through my hair. Today was the one day I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want to go anywhere, nor did I want to speak to anyone.

“Please come. Its been years, you haven’t visited his grave since..”

“Enough.” I lowly said as her shut her mouth and tears welled in her eyes.

“I wish you would just share your pain with the rest of us today. It won’t do you any good to stay alone when the rest of us are in just as much pain.” She screamed at me as tears rolled down her flushed cheeks.

I remained silent and kept my gaze on the floor. If only she knew the demons I dealt with everyday since that night. She would never understand that I was only protecting her from myself.

“He was my brother too.” She whispered brokenly as a sob left her throat. I lifted my gaze to meet hers but she turned on her heels and left before I could utter a single word.

The thoughts and memories I had been pushing back came flooding into my mind at a rapid pace. I shut my eyes and laid my head in my hands as I tried to soothe the distant ache in my chest.

I had been avoiding the elephant in the room all day and I knew I had to settle things. I needed to soothe the guilt that haunted me everyday.

It was the same guilt that kept me up at night and had me wishing I possessed the ability to change the past.

The world would be a better place if we could fix our mistakes.

I let out a deep sigh and pinched the bridge of my nose. No longer in the mood to work out, I grabbed my bag and made my way out of the basement.

I walked towards the guest room where I had been staying for the past 2 days and began packing my bags to get back home to my apartment the following morning. I knew my mom wouldn’t be pleased with my short stay but I had responsibilities and a job to return to.

Although I had lived here before moving out, I preferred to stray away from my old bedroom. The memories from my room and the room next-door were haunting.

I packed everything in my duffle bag and pulled out a clean pair of shorts to wear. I zipped up the bag and trudged over to the bathroom. Hopping into the shower, I let the water cascade down my body as I washed off all the sweat.

After a few minutes, I shut the shower off and dried myself before slipping on the shorts. Making my way to my bed, I sat down. Before I could stop myself, I found myself grabbing the photo frame that sat on the bedside table facedown.

My breath hitched as my eyes landed on the smiling faces in the photo. My toes curled as I stared down at the smiling face I hadn’t seen in years.

I felt a small tear drop make its way out of my eye and roll down my cheek as memories of life before that fateful night came to mind.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t a good enough brother that protected you.” I whispered down at the photo as more tears fell down my cheek. After a long day of holding back tears, I had set them free knowing I had reached my breaking point.

My throat felt tight as I hugged the photo to my chest.

I was a coward.

I didn’t have the heart to visit my own dead brother since the day he was buried.

Pulling the photo away from my chest, I grazed my finger over our smiling faces.

Maybe one day I’ll have enough courage to visit you again.

And maybe that’ll be the day I would forgive myself too.

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