Jacob’s bedroom is always filled with humming and blinking and whirring and noise. Every night, he falls asleep watching the television at low volume, the whine of the screen almost surpassing the dull sound of human voices selling him vacuum parts. The windows are left open, letting in the roars of passing cars and the yelps of cats in heat. His desktop computer stands by the television, running all night, rumbling louder and louder as it gets older. While he sleeps, it downloads music or porn, but most often simply waits for Jacob to check his email first thing in the morning. Sometimes, he even leaves the radio on, tuned to static.
His friends look at him like he’s a little crazy when he tells them about his sleeping habits, and his flatmate has demanded that Jacob pay for a full two-thirds of the electricity bill. Jacob can’t tell you when he started sleeping this way, but as time and technology and money have given him more gadgets to keep in his quarters, they have filled his nights with an obscene amount of noise.
Lately, Jacob has not been sleeping very well. Perhaps it was the mattress, perhaps it was anxiety about his love life and his grades, perhaps it was his diet. Or, as a coworker suggested earlier in the day, perhaps it was all the damned noise.
Tonight, Jacob will achieve silence. He turns off the television. He shuts down his computer. He unplugs his video game consoles to shut out even the red LEDs on their faces. It’s Autumn, so he turns off the central air. He shuts the windows tight, hushing the crickets. At last, the only sounds Jacob can hear are the sound of his own breathing and the humming of the incandescent lamp above his head. He switches that off.
Jacob jumps underneath the covers, eager to take in what promises to be the most peaceful, refreshing night of sleep since he was an infant. Pulling the covers tight, he wonders why he didn’t make this change years ago.
The darkness speaks to him, “Hello, Jake. It’s your demons again. Long time no talk.”
Jacob grabs for the remote control and switches the TV on.
This post is another in a continuing series of content coordinated by theme or motif with a post from William C. Stewart of Chide, Chode, Chidden. This week’s theme: ‘silence’.