Friday, February 17, 2017

The sound of silence

It goes like this:
"Turn it down! It's too loud!"

~"No it's not! It's not that loud. It can never really be too loud!"

I can't seem to function without the radio on, or the CD player going, or something playing in my headphones.
Nikki doesn't like it when I get my music playing very loud.
Shouldn't that be the other way around?

Like so many millions of people, to me, music is everything!

Growing up was very difficult.
Ok, it was steeped in violence. My life began with my first witness of violence at age 2.
I sat at the top of the stairs screaming and crying as I watched my then, 15 year old sister being hit, thrown down stairs, then dragged up two flights of stairs by her hair. The man that rented a room in our house simply didn't want her to leave the house.
Obviously, she moved out shortly after that.

That was just the beginning...

Some years later, my mom married a so-called 'really nice guy'.
Yeah, so nice that the night of their wedding they argued so much, so loud, with things flying, and it ended with him smashing their whole wedding cake on the floor!
All of us kids, meaning myself, my siblings and his 3 kids too, listened in horror from the top of those stairs.

Later, when all was quiet, a couple of us came down to peek around the corner, to the bottom of the stairs to find my mom on her knees sobbing quietly while she picked up broken pieces of glass amongst the entire smashed cake.

Step dad ruled by violence. The belt was always the preferred method.
At first, I was too little to be punished by belt, but it didn't protect me from witnessing so many horrific lashings endured by my brothers!

The best thing I could do is go hide! Go hide and grab a radio to try to drown out the sounds of the leather smacking on bare skin, and the screams and cries that followed. I felt so much fear and absolute terror welling up in my throat, my chest and stomach that I felt like I wanted to puke!
I would hide in my room. Hide in my closet. Hide in any corner of the house to always try to be unseen!
Better yet, don't go in the house at all! I spent a lot of time outside. Even in the dead of winter I would stay outside until I could no longer feel my fingers or toes and frost bite had begun.
Whenever trying to go in the house,
I would cautiously peek in the door to see if he was around, then make a mad dash to my room. Ahhh! Right to my little radio! I could listen to music, and everything, for the moment, would be OK!

Then I got older.
I managed to pretty much escape the vengeance of a good whipping, but open hand, back hand, closed hand hitting, and choke holds were reserved just for me. I was 'special' in his eyes.

Time goes by and the raging violence, yelling, screaming and things flying across rooms were a constant occurrence.

Only at night, when everyone went to bed, it got quiet. It was so quiet that I could hear my brother playing his Pink Floyd albums through the wall, and I knew, for that moment, everything would be alright.

I discovered I loved to sing along with the songs I heard. It seemed to make things so much better! I joined choir in elementary school, and have been singing and thinking about music ever since!
It's not that I'm a good singer, oh, far from it! I can hit all the notes just fine, but the quality? ... errrr...not so much.. Ahh, that doesn't stop me from belting out along with my favorite songs anyway!

I was in middle school when we learned this song called "The Sound of Silence" and it really hit home! I practiced, and practiced until that song seemed to be permanently engrained in my brain. I sang it in the shower, when I was passing classes in school, when I spent time outside, everywhere, all the time.

The night we had the concert where that song was included seemed to be magical! The whole evening was peaceful and quiet!
For that moment, I knew everything would be alright.

Fast forward through so many years, sooo..many..years.. That song and that evening had long been forgotten.
One night, I went to bed with my radio playing as usual, when I was awaken by a familiar tune I hadn't heard or thought about in ages! Still half asleep, I quietly sang along. Every word, every note, all still there!
The band Disturbed did a cover of The Sound of Silence and it was played on the radio!
Then I fell back asleep, my eyes wet with tears because I knew, at that moment, everything IS alright!

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