I was sitting there, enjoying the serenity of nature, when it began.  The noise was hard to hear, but impossible NOT to hear.  It was the sound of a light bulb about to break.  The shrill shriek of an electric motor about to die.  But it was so, so low.  I wasn’t even sure I heard it.  Was it really a sound, or was it my imagination?

The noise was loudest, if that term even applies, in the kitchen. I heard it when I went outside, out the front door, though.  And it was there while I was out on the back deck.

It was everywhere I was.  It was constant. Loud. Almost silent. Hidden. In my face. Maddening.

The longer I heard it, the more I came to understand how people can snap; that noise could drive a person to create mayhem.  It could cause blood to boil at low temperature. It could make a brain explode in low, muffled, percussive thuds.

My wife heard it, but only after I called it to her attention.  But she heard it; I was not crazy.  It was not an imaginary demon.  She thought it was the fan motor.  But it wasn’t the fan motor.  Or maybe the dining area light.  No, not that.  But WHAT?!  It was unclear.  It came from somewhere, but from nowhere.  Maybe it wasn’t even a sound.  Or maybe it was something imaginary, but seemed real to couples.  What was it?!

She went back to her TV program.  I began planning an insurrection. I wanted to, needed to, create a counter to this horrible, persistent, excruciating, shrill, bestial NOISE!  I needed it to end.  I needed the world to end, if the noise would not.  I could not STAND the sound!  Was it my imagination? Was it real?  Was it a background noise my mind allowed itself to amplify?  What was it?!

I was willing to chew on glass, if only the glass would make it stop. Something had to make the sound cease.  I wanted the universe to explode into a vapor of silence.

And then, as quietly as it crept into my reality, it crept out.   That was last night.  I have no idea what it was.  I want the experience to be only a memory, never to be experienced again.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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