Deafening silence

It’s quiet where I am.  It’s so quiet that the noises outside are monstrously loud even though there’s nothing new or unexpected about them.  It’s the same motorbikes and traffic and barking dogs and car alarms I hear every day, but the house is oh so quiet.  So quiet I can hear the “fuck you” guy–you know the guy that just yells “fuck you!” over and over and over and over again at the top of his lungs as he wanders the streets–from miles away.  As he gets closer to my house his vomitous mantra pounds in my head and rings my ears like he was standing next to me and mainlining his spittle ridden maxim over and over directly into my ear canal.  I’m fucking unsettled.  I am not comfortable and I am not on the up and up.  I’m hopelessly alone in a house that all of a sudden doesn’t feel like my home.  I find myself uncomfortable in my own skin.  

My wife and the kids are on their annual pilgrimage back to the motherland and I here I sit.  Alone and wanting nothing more than for them to be home again.  My work and projects managed to hold me at bay for a week, but they’ve lost their luster.  I go to the gym everyday and most days twice, but it feels futile and silly and vain.  When you strip away my photography and my little creative musings you’ll find my family underneath it all–holding the framework of who I am together.  When they’re gone, I fall apart.  They left the day before my birthday.  They won’t be back for two months. 

When I came home from dropping them off at the airport I started crying.  The emptiness of the house was all-consuming.  The realization that they were gone washed over me, knocking me down and I cried.  After a while, I walked to my bedroom where I discovered that everyone had made me birthday cards and left them on my headboard to find before bedtime.  One of them–the one from Ester with a pen and ink drawing of an FM2 on it–said that she (and the rest of the family) knew how much I would miss them and that to take my mind off things, if even for a little while, they had snagged all of my undeveloped rolls and processed them for me.  She went on to say the film would be ready tomorrow and that hopefully having something that I loved would help me not to think about missing the people that I loved.  

Well I cried and this time I howled like I haven’t since, well fuck, I don’t know when.  It was an ugly cry, and since it’s so damn quiet in the house, that ugly, howling cry reverberated from my bedroom to the bathroom to the living room and back, echoing louder and louder with every iteration. My skull felt cracked and my lungs burned.  I thought about the “fuck you” man for a second–how people can break–and how I was on the verge of breaking from the loneliness and the joy welling-up in my heart over this seemingly simple gift and all the love behind it.  I wiped the snot on my hand and calmed my breathing.  My eyes were fire red and my ears were ringing from the deafening silence pressuring my head at a million pounds per inch, but I didn’t break.    

“Deafening Silence” shot on my Mamiya6MF on Kodak Tri-X film pushed +2 at the Icon

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