Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

The Weekly Writing Challenge was to take the theme of silence and explore it in your own way.  I used a fictional story and I hope you enjoy!


Mr. Rogers yelled, “Silence!”, and then in a more subdued voice said, “I don’t want to hear one noise out of you until everyone has completed this assignment.”

As I hear the sound of a pencil case unzip and watch a well-manicured hand plundering around for the right #2, I smirk at his choice of words.  The football player who had been leaning back in his chair picks that moment to let it slam to the floor so he can get busy.  The sound is magnified in the hushed room.  So much for silence.

Next, I hear pencils dragging across papers and tapping on desks and a student who suddenly reminds me of a beaver, is attempting to chew his in half.

More noise ensues as the instructor settles his large frame into his chair and rolls it under the opening in his desk.  He toys with his watch for a moment, and then he turns his attention to the stack of papers on his left and begins shuffling through them.  I’m still waiting for silence.

Someone is popping forbidden gum inside their mouth, a skill I have yet to master.  The round, black rimmed, school issued clock ticks away noisily reminding us that time is running out.  My own stomach growls loudly enough for me to try to quickly cover it up with a fake cough.

The instructor pulls open his squeaky right desk drawer and draws out the ever-present tin of altoids.  He opens it, selects two, pops them in his moustache rimmed mouth and immediately begins crunching them.  As I suspected, this action is indicative of his imminent stroll around the room to discourage would be cheaters.

Seemingly unaware of his approach, the girl in front of me begins humming and as he reaches her desk he raises his index finger to his nose, to dramatically shush her.  Spittle flies everywhere and I think I see the white flecks of undissolved altoids too.

He repeats the command to silence and I am more certain than ever, that his wish will never be granted.

Soon, papers start shuffling and chairs slide back against the floor as the first students to finish begin turning in their short stories.

I look down at my paper, pleased that I have satisfied the requirement to spend the last half hour of class writing about silence.  I title mine, “Silence is elusive” and turn it in.

Pondering prom


I was just there to do a favor; take pictures that the kids would like, with a decent camera.  My role was photographer (not even close to professional and not pretending to be) and spectator.

One of the first cars to pull up after my friend and I arrived was my daughter and wow, she looked amazing.  She had that perfect dress on and when she smiled at me, I considered how blessed I was to be here, a part of her senior prom.  I could watch her from the sidelines, beside myself with emotion that was pushed way down deep, yet ever threatening to bubble to the top and overflow.  But, I promised myself there would be no waterworks tonight.

As I watched the young adults begin to arrive, I was amazed at how beautiful and handsome they all looked.  Since I’ve known most of them since they were in diapers, my heart lurched for them too.  For some, this would be the final big event of their high school career.

They let me take their pictures, ate a wonderful meal and then the dancing began.  This was a great group, not the kind you constantly have to worry about and follow around to intercept any mischief.  They were content to be together.

Looking around the room casually, careful not to let my eyes linger anywhere long enough to be that nosy parent, the memories overwhelmed me.  The sleepovers, the birthday parties, little league games and youth group.  Many have been found eating at my table, riding in my car, sharing secrets and dreams.

We complain sometimes because we live in a small town and our kids go to a K-12 school.  It’s small so it doesn’t offer as much variety or choice in sports or academics as some schools.  Everyone knows each other’s business, so gossip can run rampant.

But, sitting there thinking about these kids and some of the lifelong friendships, I realized that where we fall short in some areas, we far exceed in others.  We’re like family; we all come together when it’s needed.  They may argue, but when push comes to shove and there is a need, it’s met.

Their futures loom just ahead of them and no one knows what tomorrow holds, but whenever they return home, they will have those of us who welcome them.  We will share in their joy of accomplishments and feel sorrow in their losses.

I had been home about an hour when my daughter arrived and we went through the pictures together and discussed the night.  She was happy with how things went, so of course, so was I.   (and I was glad she was home and off the road early so this mom could get some much needed rest!)

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