Suicide no. 27: Vow of Silence
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
Audiences fill with laughter, cheers, and awes. Meaningless conversations wash adrift amongst rain-swept and newspaper-littered concrete cities throughout the entire world. Somewhere, though, out in the middle of some ocean, the wind only sweeps the waters. Some places, thought Somer, were, she would say, “beckoningly,” wordless.
Not completely quiet, mind you. Just without language—at least, not one made up of human vocal utterances, and their conceited and contrived meanings.
She’d picked up the book that somehow wound up in the fiction paperback section of a thrift store. Endlessly, it seemed, she dug through that battered old milk crate of electronics, trying to find one of those sets of earphones that they made back in the seventies—the ones that would’ve covered her whole, tiny head, and filled her ears with her grandfather’s scratchy collection of blues records. He’d left behind a lot after the funeral, and most of her greedy, thoughtless family realized that the old vinyls weren’t worth enough to sell.
So, that’s what she got—about ten of the forgotten relics. And she cherished them, partly because she missed her grandpa, and his stories, and long, silent walks along forgotten railways that he helped construct decades prior.
The book she found was about Buddhism, and contained an entire chapter about the importance of silent meditation. According to the paperback, its cover torn off such that it had no title, a so-called “vow of silence” is not merely ceasing to communicate—it’s about disallowing yourself to feel, know, interpret, and do what we westerners call “subvocalization:”
That is, you’re not allowed to talk to yourself in your head.
Somer thought this extreme, but she tried it a few times. She first started when she was out for a jog. Other moments she spent in bed, staring at the ceiling, and waiting for the sounds of the world around her—the endless myriad of car hums, phone rings, wooden floor creaks, spilling liquid, rainfall…the endless tunnel void of that which is without language.
It spoke volumes to the sophomore college student, and she listened. One sound, wordless, like a photograph, held more meaning than any poem she’d ever read—which was her other, primary pastime. She’d go on walks, and listen to what language could never say. She’d listen, and the ocean that is all that is unknowable suddenly spilled itself into her—filling a void that no series of words could fill.
And it was beautiful.
She kept trying to hear what it had to say, but the longer she listened, the shorter those moments became—until someone, somewhere, began conversing. Or a song, with its terrible words, came blaring out of nowhere. Somer would listen to the silence as long as she could, but voices always ended it—even if those voices were only the ones in her head.
And thus, when that beauty, that silence, began to fade—over and over—all she wrote on the scrap piece of paper she left beside of her dangling, noose-held corpse—her poor excuse for a suicide note—were:
Inspired by the Daily Post’s Weekly Challenge: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/the-sound-of-silence/