The Silence You Never Hear

In only three hours, the world will quieten down just enough for it to be possible to sense the movements of the universe. As this is written, it’s all cars and rain and people and Friday night and dreams of booze. While the sea bashes the rocks without relent, the liver works  at purifying; it too dreams of counting the stars in the midnight sky. The boats rock upon waves that started at the beginning of time; inside one, a fisherman reads an old comic. His shoulders judder as he laughs deep in his chest. A woman, lost in thought, stares at his boat as it moves out to better waters. Her partner looks at her for a brief moment before returning to saw up his steak. He prefers is well done. He worries about germs.

Two drunks take turns spitting at a brand new Mercedes. They lean against the wall of the laundrette. They talk to each other in a way that no one else would understand. “People don’t understand; they don’t get it, d’you see what I’m saying?” They say to each other, over and over again.

Inside the laundrette, a man reads a letter and holds his chin as though, without  a hand there, it might fall off.  He blinks a couple of times before hearing two drunks jeering at a Mercedes. They irritate him and it annoys him that he’s irritated. He continues reading: “Not much to say here. I suppose I gave in. It was going well but then I thought you were lost to me forever. And when he held out his hand I just took it. If I could take back what I did, I would. I woke up wishing that it had never happened.” And then he felt nothing. It was as though his life had changed and he felt indifferent in the new skin. There was a sense of novelty in it.And numbness.

A beautiful but sad looking woman walked along with a man dressed like a tycoon. He opened the passenger side door of the Mercedes. “For God’s sake. Fucking animals.” spat the tycoon about the drunks. And she slid into the car. Through the window of the laundrette he put the letter in his pocket and studied her face. Her face turned and looked at him. The corners of her mouth turned up a tiny amount and she blinked once as if to explain everything.

Then she was gone with the tycoon and the Mercedes.

“Wanker.” said one of the drunks.

Putting his laundry into his rucksack, he tossed the letter into one of the machines. Perhaps it would come out better with a good, hot wash.

Out in the rain it was all cars and rain and people and Friday night and dreams of booze. One of the drunks asked the man with the rucksack, “Mate. Got a spare fag son?” He plucked one from the pack. “Aw, fanks boy. You’re a gent. You from ’round here?”

“Just moved here.” the man replied, thinking of her face.

“I’d keep moving if it was me,” the drunk laughed, like a drain.

And the car and the woman and the girl were gone; like the letter, and the washing always got done; the drunks stayed drunk, and nothing changed.

And they lived

happily

ever after.

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