It is this part of the story the story teller will not tell—the silence after all is done. How do you speak of silence? What is the excitement, the climax, the suspense, the catharsis in river that has found hibernation? No! The story tellers do not tell of the after because they think it is boring. The audience wants the Oooh and Aaah, the shivering anticipation of a villain's downfall or the heroine's victory. But I will tell you a story of silence and I will not embellish.
The man sits there, on that bench, under that tree. He sits there and stares at the world in his palm. The adjectives to describe his pain are far from me now but it is real and true. His hair is gray, his face is ashen. Despite the shade under which he exists, sweat trickles down his back and armpits, slowly stretching the boundaries of the liquid map of occupation across his old French suit. He stares at his palms, unstired by the wind, the sun, the trees, the birds.
The bench on which the man sits is roughly hewn from old trees that have seen better days. Their waists serve as legs and their chests serve as seats. It is the way of things to be used and used some more even in death. The man stares at his palms. The wind calome and go The trees wave and wave. The grass grow green and joyful and the birds flap by but the man stares at his pain in that screen of life lines and chipped nails.
There are old cigarette burns on his fingertips and one finger still echoes the stain of an old ring hiding flesh from sun, water and soap. The ring is no more, lying on some person's breast in a distant present but its absence is felt by the man's eyes as they wander about the country of his weary regret. Who does he mourn for? What story would he tell if asked?
Because we will not mind our business, because another's pain and loneliness is more interesting than ours, we will seek to know the man more than he knows himself. So there, another man walks down that path. His suit is stiffer than the sky. His hair is cropped better than the lawn. He sits beside our friend. We are eager. We are impatient. They will exchange greetings, speak of the weather, sports and politics and then we will hear our ashen faced man's story.
But alas! The world we we are alive in has grown strange. The young man in his fly suit digs into his suit and brings out his phone. His fingers fly over it and his eyes wander over it —up and down and up again. He smiles, he frowns; he is puzzled, he is sad. He does not acknowledge his neighbour. They sit there on the same bench, under the same tree, two strangers waiting for life to finish what it has started.
The old man turna to the young man. In his eyes, there must be questions for his hands rise as if to begin the orchestra of experience then it drops flat on his laps. He could have sighed if there was air to take in and take out. The picture revolves out of sight and the puppeteer pauses to wipe the sweat from his brow.
The audience is packed with tension, their bones wound tighter than a mine set beneath the history of a country. They are waiting for the explosion of confrontation, of assault of private space, moments of Introspection but after a cup of water, after the dragged suspense of watching two puppets sitting on a toy bench in their toy lives, the puppeteer bends back to his work and those two men, those two unknowable men turn to one another and nod.
That is all. The story ends there and I have broken your heart. I have stood by my words. Silence has reigned supreme. You see, sometimes the recanting is not embellished. Sometimes a story is as plain and empty as a marriage after a wedding. I warned you. Now you will say I have wasted your time. But you know that most of the life you live are days that nothing happens beyond you staring at your palms and wondering why.
Then again, did I not tell the story? Did you not read it? Did the voice in your head not speak the words? Is that not enough noise to fill the silence of my characters and their almost inactions? The sometimes silence of your life? This, my audience of self is how my gifts keep giving.