I am lying in bed. Everything is turned off. The excited chatter of the evening’s dinner has finally stopped echoing in my head. And yet, true silence is elusive. The noises are now unfamiliar. Was that a rustle of the sheets, or a footfall on the stair? The wind knocking at the window, or someone’s fingers slipping off the screen?
At night, little creaks are piercing, the refrigerator hum deafening. My racing heart is at war with the sleeping pill I took, and the dripping sink sings me awake awake awake. Then as I start to drift off, a party somewhere down the street breaks apart messily.
I wait for the last hoot of laughter, the rumble of the last car pulling away. . . . And I start again to parse the grunts and groans of the old bones of this house, the patter of mice in the rafters, suddenly becoming aware of the fan, it’s blades slicing the air.