The silence is the most mesmerizing piece of this puzzle. It grows harder every day to remember just how noisy the world once was. Planes, trains, cars? Do I even remember those things? They’re vague memories now, things that existed in the before.
This is the after.
This is different.
Before … before I could tell you the sound of my father’s bike. I could hear it’s roaring engine, feel the vibrations and wind whipping through my clothes even before I saw it.
After … in the after I struggle to describe just how loud, just what pitch. In the after I can no longer hear the engine grumble to life in my dreams.
No longer do I look both ways before crossing streets.
No longer do I worry for the constant distractions of phones forever connected to everyone yet no one.
It’s been fifteen years since we crossed the line from the before to this silent space, this after.
Ten since I’ve seen more than two people together.
Four since I’ve seen anyone at all.
She can’t be more than five. She came barreling out of the thickets, matted hair and a ripped night gown.
Surely she belongs to someone.
At first she spoke not to me but to the trees, the sky, the birds. She asked them if I was the one.
I couldn’t leave her, the wild dogs would devour her for a snack.
Then she spoke to me.
“I came here on a plane.”