Echoes of Silence



Lauren runs past the kitchen, her voice fading as she turns the corner, “Oh mom, you are in one of those states again”, she says as she rolls her eyes.

The keys drop into the bowl upon the table next to the door as she passes.

Mom misses the eye roll, thankfully as this would have hurt had she known. She is in the kitchen grating the sweet potatoes for the fritters on tonight’s “special” menu.

“Everyone is going to be home together tonight honey, even your brother!” She says this more to herself than to Lauren as she is deep inside her own thoughts of the days when they were all little. Two of her children would not be living in the house after tonight and she would have just one child at home. That would certainly change the dynamics. “That will be odd,” she screams silently.

“You’ll miss me, you know, and my “states”.


Mom returns to the silent process of creating a meal with love. The pure act of grating is meditative, grounding her and reminding her of days long ago, when this little blue eyed blonde, baby girl sat on this same bench. That was a time of rhythm and balance and order. Now, everything seemed to be whizzing by and she felt like she was on a whirlwind ride that she could not exit. This was disconcerting. Tomorrow, her baby would be leaving the country to follow her dream! The thought makes her smile with just a hint of sadness again as she gazes out the window deep in thought. Her emotions are all over the map yet she tries to have a neutral expression. As Lauren comes in and sits on the stool, she grabs a strawberry slyly and smiles at her mom knowingly.

“So, mom, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I am happy as a clam.”

This  facade does not fool the girl. Soft singing begins to fill the room, as mom hums and grates in rhythm to the melody. Mom cocks her head and smiles inviting a medley of their favourite song. Lauren joins in and they sing in harmony, lost in the moment . The singing ends and there is an awkward silence. The elephant in the room is the hesitancy in their conversation, as neither knows just quite what to say. The silence is broken.

“So, what do you think you will do on your first day in New York City, Lauren?”

Lauren speaks quickly, her words blending as one in an endless chatter.

“I will get settled and hook up with Janine so I have a mate and I will call you and it will all be so exciting!” and she stops suddenly. She raises her head slowly, a strawberry between her teeth as she stares at her mom hesitantly. They both have tears in their eyes.

“Oh dear, come over here!”

Lauren gets up and hugs her mom tightly and the visible tension melts off of them as their shoulders relax simultaneously. They cry softly together with sadness and with joy. No words are spoken and the empty page speaks volumes. A moment in time passes and life stands still. For just that moment there are pauses in the memories in their hearts.

Lauren picks up a knife and joins her mother as they continue working in unison.

“So, seriously, what will you do, honey?”

“Don’t worry, I will start changing the world immediately upon arrival mom”, she smirks, “true to the cause of human survival in an indecent world!”

She rolls her eyes once again and this time mom sees. Lauren realizes this and mumbles. “I was only kidding!”

But the bruise remains. Mom flinches and turns away and cheerfully states: “That’s my girl!” Her earlier meditation is now cluttered with the unspoken silence of what will never be said.

















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