Thursday, August 18, 2011

Teacups & Telephones

I've been thinking about the presence and absence of small sounds.

an open window — 
spoon against teacup — 
early morning tears

I've walked by that house for years, but have never heard any other sounds through the window. It still seems like a sad house to me, though.

My favorite childhood sound was the click of the stainless steel ball bearings inside my mother's nail polish jar. She'd shake the jar so vigorously, I could hear the clicking from two rooms away.  

That meant she'd be occupied in the kitchen for at least an hour, surrounded by cotton balls, polish remover, two different kinds of emery boards, and that tiny doll-sized brush. 

Her fingernails were long and it took time to coat them in the shimmery pearl-pink lacquer she used. Afterwards, my mother sat with her hands splayed across the formica tabletop, waiting patiently for the polish to dry.

In the meanwhile, I could read in peace without her urging me to go across the street to the park to play. I never wanted to go out and play. I always wanted to stay home and read.

What is the sound a book makes when it knows you are enjoying it so much? 

It was also good to hear my mother on the telephone. Her voice was different when she talked with her friends; softer, more musical. Her laugh was different; lighter, younger. I used to wish she'd stay on the phone all night. Not only so I could read without being interrupted, but because she sounded so happy then.

how loud 
the phone 
not ringing