Silence is Golden

by Peter Wild

Alice and Bryan were sitting on the seafront, out front of a cafe, two coffees on the table between them growing cold as they silently watched their grandchildren race up and down the beach laughing and screaming, splashing each other as they dug in the wet sand for pebbles and shells. It wasn't an awkward silence. The two of them had been married for the better part of 33 years. Silence was the grain in their wood. In many ways, if you stripped away the layers of pain (his hands and his knee, her back and her eyesight), if you sought to leaven the daily grind of just moving about, staying upright, keeping active, if you attempted to compensate for the hard years and the struggles the two of them had waded through, the problems with their children, the inevitable letting go, all of the disappointments, it was arguable that silence was one of the things that kept them warm at night. Certainly, as the days grew colder and the nights drew in like a battery of unwelcome house-guests, silence was the greater of several lesser comforts the two of them still cherished.

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Peter Wild, author of The Girl Without a Beret, is the editor of The Flash & Perverted by Language: Fiction inspired by The Fall. You can read more here.