Silent Night

Gavin McCall

Gavin McCall

Father is standing at the doorway to a blue-painted room, looking into the quiet of it.

Before that, he paced the hallway, going by and by the door, the closed door to a room that he could imagine was not empty.

Before that, Mother shared with him a quiet dinner of leftovers heated only on the outside.

Before that, Father drove Mother home, just the two of them, with slow jams on the radio that neither would change, with nothing sitting on the back seat where neither would look.

Before that, Father held Mother’s hand, listening for the noise, the break in silence that would mean everything was alright, that would mean they are bringing their Son back, so that he would change everything for them, as they had promised each other.

Before that, Mother and Father watched, him from the bedside and her from the bed, as the Doctor’s and Nurses’ tones of voice changed, their backs bent over a plastic tray with raised walls which neither Mother nor Father had noticed before, though they’d been in the room with it for hours, the Doctor’s hands busy around a plastic bottle of air, pumping silently.

Before that, neither of them ever thought much about how many kinds of silence there can be in a single moment, or how those silences can stick to each other, can pile up, like too many cars in a parking lot, like two CD’s in one CD player, like two people sidestepping into each other on a narrow sidewalk, each unable to get out of the other’s way, like everything in this world that cannot, anymore, get by.

1 Comment

  1. Gavin I thought this was beautiful. I read it with an expanding lump in my throat. Like watching a movie on rewind I could hear the Del Amitri track ‘Driving with the breaks on’ in the background. Powerful stuff, and a pleasure to read.

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