02 October 2011

Vacuum of Silence

The other afternoon, Arden was struck by another of her headaches. These bad boys seem to come out of nowhere, and from time to time, really knock her down. We’ve been documenting when they happen, and what activities precede them, what she eats and drinks, and even how she reacts to the headaches. So far, though, no patterns are emerging.

By 4:30 that afternoon, she was in bed with the shades drawn, and a compress on her forehead. A whimper-y, tear-filled half hour later, she was asleep. At dinner, the rest of us remarked at the gloomy silence left in the vacuum of her absence. Later, we tiptoed through the dreary evening, sad for her and sad for us, too. Without her spunky cheer, the three of us fall into boredom pretty readily.

The night stretched long with worry. Silence always seems to lengthen the period of time it occupies.

The next morning, when I went to wake her to see if she was able to go to school, she stretched and sighed and smiled. She sat up, rubbed her eyes, and asked, “Did I eat dinner last night?” She laughed when I shook my head no.

I could see her reviewing the events of the previous afternoon, and she cautiously moved herself, trying to determine if her head was still hurting.

“I feel lots better,” she pronounced, and hopped out of bed to begin her morning routine.

Relief flooded over me, and each of us was consumed by the frantic morning pace that somehow gets us out the door each day. That night, though, the typical commotion of our family dinner swirled around us, and my heart beat to its usual cadence once again, the tempo set by the lovely, ordinary noise.

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