Waiting on a different kind of silence

“Have the lambs stopped screaming?” Silence of the Lambs

I don’t like the quiet. Silence is different. It is peaceful, contemplative, calming. The quiet is just that: too still, too empty, too eerie. The quiet could be when you don’t hear from someone for days, their phone disconnected or voicemail brimming over. The quiet can occur in a crowded high school hallway, kids talking and laughing, iPods blasting, games being played, while underneath the current of violence moves forward.

A pretty girl lies in the street, her face a bloody mess. Her mother joins her in the ambulance as police cars surround the scene.

This morning, one of my favorite students came to see me. Dressed in one of her typical trendy 80s retro outfits, she earnestly described her fears. She’s had bad blood with two notorious sisters, typical girl drama over a boy. Her so-called brother(I believe he’s her “friend with benefits” though she denies such a connection) told her that the sisters would jump her this week, even today. She assured me she’d keep walking away because she’s trying to change. Her applications for class officer and cheerleader prove that she has an interest in being more than just another hoodrat. She was scared. And now she’s at the hospital.

Why didn’t I do anything? My colleagues say I had no power in this situation. One of the sisters had been dropped from school to independent study. The other wouldn’t have listened to any warnings or threats from us. I can’t help but feel that my silence helped hurt her. I want so badly to help people, whether it’s my kids or my loved ones. Whenever I can’t, I feel lost.

I miss Soldier. His voice and his words always soothe me. But he’s unreachable.

The quiet hurts. Right now, I don’t feel sad or hopeless. I’m scared, nervous, on edge. The quiet stretches on.

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