there is no absolute silence. even in that anechoic chamber there is no silence. you’ll hear your own heartbeat. your own breath. your blood flowing through your veins. i’d like to think that in the after life, the idea of heaven is absolute silence. not the kind that drives you insane but the kind that brings you peace.

the closest thing to absolute silence is the silence from my sister. i know it won’t drive me insane even though it tries to because it haunts me and still brings me to tears at no particular schedule. that’s part of the horror because it hits me so randomly and i imagine that her silence might be eternal. sure, people say my name all the time, they call me, they talk to me. but she doesn’t. hasn’t in 5 and a half years. and won’t for who knows how long. possibly for forever. possibly never again.

i’ve forgotten her voice. what she sounds like. i’ve been told that we have the same voice over the phone. well. i’ll never know so it doesn’t give me any comfort because all i hear is my own voice in my head.

but that’s not what frightens me the most. what frightens me is that i’ve also forgotten the want to talk to her. i’ve become accustomed to her silence, to her absence. in the first few months i craved for her to somehow contact me, you know, so if you’re near, send me a sign type of thing. a few times i had this feeling that she might have sent me one but i could never be sure. plus, we always look for patterns that aren’t really there. once we see them, we can’t un-see them. like seeing a face in the bark of a tree. it’s random enough for our brains to think that it has a particular structure when in fact it’s all just arbitrary. it’s just bark on a tree.

maybe grief has made me a cynic. maybe all this is just a phase.

maybe i’m just tired of being so fucking sad about the whole thing.

i can see how people will think that i should be over it by now. i mean, it has been over 5 years. and i have moved on. i move on every day. moving on is a good thing but in a way moving on also seems to mean moving away from her. the distance in time has me in a place where there is no more Barbara. where she is a fading memory. her face growing dimmer and dimmer by the day. her voice a silent echo in the past.

so all i’m left with is the blood flowing through my veins and the incessant beating of my wounded heart, ticking away relentlessly. ticking away from her.

maybe i should be over it. the thing is, part of me is terrified that i never will be ‘over it’. because that’s what i think will happen. this pain won’t go away. it’ll just sleep more often, tucked away in some self-manifested drawer of my emotional space. when it wakes, it wakes with the same vitality as ever before. at times the force of it seems even stronger because it had the opportunity of repose.

so yeah, i feel uneasy knowing that i’ll always carry this pain within me. that i could never be rid of it. that i’ll never be over it. on the other hand, i am more afraid that one day i will be over it. not sure which one terrifies me more. i can’t say that i find either option very appealing. or comforting. but those are the only two options i have.

since Barbara was so much a part of not only my life but so much a part of me, it’s safe to say that i still feel very lost without her. navigating through life has at times become like wading through a terrain of quicksand in the dark with not stars in the sky and only the sound of my unrelenting heart beating away and away and away. so as i slosh through the mud, lifting my legs with great effort, straining during each step, i think about where all of this will lead me. how far away from her i could go. and what lies beyond this ominous landscape. maybe it’s just more quicksand.

at least i dismiss the dangerous appeal of inertia. believe me, it’s tempting to just stop and let the earth swallow me up. although as i understand it, i’d just be stuck in the mud for an indeterminate amount of time.

but i do find myself thinking about Barbara’s silence and how much of that has become my own. how often i choose silence over anything else. and how often silence seems to choose me.