The Silence Is Loud

“…” The silence is loud, amplified by the whirring of the a/c, not to forget about the near constant rustling of people repositioning or, of course, the occasional coughing.
It’s almost painful, I thought, how dead quiet everybody is.
“...” No, it IS painful. This is hurting me on multiple and/or all levels beyond physical.
“...” A woman in the corner, sitting as straight as a ruler, not my rulers though, pulls out her expertly placed and folded hands to cover her mouth as she provides the ‘occasional cough.’ Once that’s done her hands carefully and quietly fold perfectly in her lap, looking straight ahead, unphased and unhesitating. Dang. She looks hardcore. But - not like, “METAL!” I mean like a really hard worker – and - ugh, who am I even trying to explain that too? It’s not like she can hear me…unless…she…reads minds?! That would be awkward. She catches me looking her way, waiting a moment before flashing a small smile and looking away. As for me, I stare directly at the ground, I will not repeat that dire mistake again.
“...” The man with the brown shirt directly next to the corner moves in his seat, again, causing the rustling noise. He sways from side to side, and when he’s not swaying, he’s bouncing his leg, or twiddling with his fingers, or desperately pushing his hair back in a pointless attempt to fix it. Right now he’s twiddling his fingers. Maybe he too, cannot bear the unbearable silence that fills this room! Actually maybe it would sound better if I said: ‘Maybe he too can feel the unbearable weight of the silence that hangs over us.’ Maybe that’s too much? Oh well I’ll write it down anyway. I scramble to pull out my notebook, (which is filled with similar notes, none of which have been actually used) to write down my ideas, never know when they might come in handy! Unfortunately, my pen has made its absence quite clear. I’ll just ask the guy who keeps fidgeting. As I stand up, I look in his direction and walk over, which is met by him quietly but desperately searching his pockets, he swiftly brings his phone to his ear and pretends to need to leave. I see his empty screen. That’s low. I turn to the “woman in the corner” next to him, “I’m sorry miss but, could you, um…” I think I understand the guy in the brown shirt now. “Spare me a pencil?” ‘Spare me?’ Who says that? Without missing a beat she- “Of course.” She gives me her kind smile once more and hands me a pen, her smile is contagious. “Thank you! Erm - Very much.” I grab the pen to write down the, um. I grab the pen to write down, uh, I stare at the page, what did I need the pen for?
I give it back without writing a single thing.
The look on her face said it all.
The silence is loud.


25 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


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