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IN SEARCH OF SILENCE by Enid Kassner

"Beyond the confines of brick and glass, in the 2:00 a.m. blackness, the streetlight beckoned."

Enid Kassner

The hum was inescapable, stealing my sleep. The hum dominated, demanding attention, obedience. The hum made me frantic for silence. And my anguish urged me to confront it.

For several long years, I had searched for strategies to untangle the snarls in my marriage. By this point, I had retreated to the guest room at the front of the house, across the play space from my daughter’s bedroom, which she filled at night with dreams.

The hum focused my resolve, and I got up from the bed to stalk it. Moving systematically through the house, I eliminated the likely culprits. Not the refrigerator to which I pressed my ear. Not the dehumidifier in the basement. Soft feet, like wary paws, padded from room to room in the too-large house that expanded, as though to swallow me. Not the hot water heater, not the cable box, not the clock—which sliced off second after eternal second, yet did not hum.

In one last desperate act, I opened the door and stepped outside. Beyond the confines of brick and glass, in the 2:00 a.m. blackness, the streetlight beckoned. Revealed at last: the hum, now louder, pulsed. With promise. Not of silence, but escape.

 

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