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Edition #10
Other Voices, Other Rooms
Sanobar Sabah
Edited by Miriam Zeghlache

 My Noisy Silence

Just as the sun is ready to set for Maghrib, I drive back home after a long day at work. To honour the approaching prayers, I turn off the radio in my car.

It’s only me and my silence on our own now.

Have you ever noticed how disturbingly garish and overpowering silence can be?

I still have ten minutes to enter my neighbourhood. 

“It’s only 10 minutes”, I coax myself.


Tempted to turn on the music again, I twiddle with my empty coffee mug and exit Waze on my phone.

Silence it must be.

Gushing out a big sigh, I surrender, “Go on, if you must. Make all that noise!”

Why does listening to myself feel so unsettling?

I park the car and come home to an anxious husband and an eager teenager trying to help his father move a bulky piece of furniture. One look and I can tell their efforts are futile. Neither is making any progress; the husband is under the weather, the child itching to return to his gaming, and the furniture refuses to yield.

Resisting my urge to ‘fix’ things, I decide not to intervene and observe the drama unfold.

It’s astounding how an otherwise triggering scene can be quite amusing when you watch as an outsider.

At one point, the older boy snaps at the young one.  

Anxiety can be quite volatile in our home. We’re a work in progress.  

I gently place my hand on my husband’s chest, as I would carefully swaddle a newborn baby in a soft, muslin cloth. “There’s absolutely no need to shout. No one else is shouting,” I remind him.

The boys retreat to their rooms as the stubborn furniture now lies in a corner it was never meant to be in.

My young man laughs at my older man’s silly idea. We all enjoy a chuckle at the older man’s expense.

The sick older man mutters something to himself declaring he needs sleep. Shutting down the aircon in our room, I hand him his antihistamine, plant a kiss on his forehead, and considering they’re both unwell, I ask my younger child to sleep in my room instead of hers.

I then move on to sleep in my girl’s nice and chilled room. Carrying not an iota of guilt.

It’s quiet. 

I’m all alone. With my silence. 

Everything’s the same. The man. The children. The home. And yet, something’s shifted. 

Every voice, every silence carries its own story. I’m slowly but surely coming home to mine.

 

Sanobar Sabah, a marketing and communications specialist, found her love for writing personal essays in her early 40s. Besides Journal D'Ambroisie, her essays have been featured in Newsweek, Memoir Land, Ochre Sky Stories, FemAsia, Fiery Scribe Review, and RIC Journal. She is frequently found challenging patriarchy and the idea of perfection on Substack and Instagram.

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