If you ask someone to describe what a large city sounds like you generally expect them to mention the sounds of public transportation and private cars- honking, squealing tires and screeching brakes. Depending on where they live they might mention street vendors or the hum of the lights.
But rarely do they mention the silence.
It probably sounds contradictory to mention the noise of the city followed by commenting on the lack of it. But I suppose that in part that is because the silence I am referring to isn’t based upon your traditional auditory experience. It really refers to people who sit alone in their homes.
The impetus for the thought comes from personal experience. Following a short trip out of town I returned home ahead of the family. It was close to midnight when I pulled into my driveway. The neighborhood was quiet but then again it normally is. Tonight it seemed even more quiet than normal. Perhaps the broken streetlight contributed to this. The night seemed extra dark and extra quiet.
An overactive imagination made each creak inside my home seem a little ominous. The normal sounds of the house settling set me on edge. All sorts of crazy thoughts wandered through my mind. For a moment I was certain that there was someone else wandering through the house. I froze in place and listened for the tell-tale sign- did I hear breathing or footsteps?
It wasn’t clear.
But what was clear was that I was nervous. The dark can still make me nervous. Inside the man lives the boy who was afraid of the dark. Purposefully I forced myself to inspect each room. I checked all of the windows and roamed around searching for any sign of forced entry, but didn’t find anything to be amiss.
It took the edge off of my unease, but I’d be lying if I said that I was completely relieved.