When I was a teenager I came up with a way of dealing with my cacophonous mind that I called “the quiet game.” And it was exactly what it sounds like. No sound. I would do my best to live without making any noise for as long as possible. I quieted the squeak of my sneakers in the school hallways. I breathed in and out so slowly and deliberately as to make the process entirely silent inside my body. My heart was the thing that could not quiet itself and I endured its persistent thudding, like a drum, resonating in the calm.
Nick was out of town all of last week. Usually when he goes away I use the time to work on a huge, messy project. And I revel in the fact that it doesn’t need to be tidied up until the day he returns. Not this time. Between the state of my house, the state of my existing projects and the state of the country all I found myself able to do was be very, very quiet.
I made extra cups of coffee, wrote for hours in my journal, read during Faye’s naps, and tentatively stitched away at a few orders and projects. I called my congress persons and signed petitions, I watched my news feed and tried to quiet the thundering of my heart and the whispers of my guilty conscience for not being among the protesters in the streets or at the airports on account of the tiny, sleeping person in the next room. I laid awake at night and finally dragged my laptop into bed with a mountain of pillows and watched movies alone in the dark.