Silent Treatment

**This is fictional non fiction** CW: abuse

Amiable silence. A cup of tea. Television in the background. A book or sewing nearby. Absorbed in your own little world and content with the space you’re in. And so are they. They – the other body taking up residence in this quiet cocoon. You can talk, I can talk, either of us can break the silence, at any time. Our nothingness is a constant chatter. We are rooted in the peace of this silence. We are safe.


It’s silent in the house. Earlier the baby fussed for so long you wondered if she wasn’t ill. You were exhausted. You could use a nap. Your parents came round and took the baby out so you could get that rest. But you’d like to go out. Maybe to the bookstore. Get a coffee. Wander the aisles and browse at books you could buy but would never have time to read. Wouldn’t that be nice, wouldn’t you like to do that with me?

Not really.

You go and get ready anyway. Do your hair and try to make yourself a little bit pretty. Even if it’s a Sunday afternoon and you’ve worn the same sweatshirt for days. You like to do your makeup given the chance. You do try. A little gloss, there that should do it.


Did you want to go out?

Not really.

The silence hurts. And churns in your stomach. So you try to talk. Fill it. Ask about the sports. Did they want a cup of coffee. It’s as if it gets even quieter. Make some noise.

You try to occupy yourself and organise something or wash that. You watch the clock and wonder when the baby will be back. The silence is fretting. It sits on your chest.

Don’t pout now because I won’t take you out. I haven’t time.

If we’re not going to have sex before your parents come back what’s the point of being alone.

Silence engulfs you. Your ears burn, it hums and fills you with a foggy tune. You’re uncomfortable in your own skin. You burn to yell and fill the ugly stillness with some sound. Any sound. The silence means you’re bad. You’re not good enough. You’re stupid and maybe not a very good mum. The silence means you’re not attractive. Not worth it. That’s what it means.

This goes on. Days. Years. The external void. At random times and in many different places. Rinse and repeat. You’re closed out. Boxed into an absence of sound. You try to replace it with the baby. The dog. Food and the internet. Don’t they notice how quiet it is? Don’t they see it killing you?

You’re drowning in quiet that is deafening.

Don’t you want to do something?

Would you like to take me out?

Not really. I haven’t the time.

You return to the washroom, run the water hot. Braid and put up your hair. Look at your own muted reflection. Maybe it’s preferable through the looking glass, where the yelling lives. Maybe you can scrub the silence away, wash it down the drink. Maybe you should follow.

Yours is a silent scream. Time to make some noise.


Would you like to take me out?

I’d love to.

What do you want to talk about?



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