Quiet is an old friend who used to visit me as a girl. When I lived at home and my life was uncomplicated Elvis records and hot chocolate, I found him in the fields where we had bicycle dirt tracks and polliwog farms, or at my grandma’s house when I’d cut flowers; he followed me home from the school bus each day and was my faithful companion during my bath, in my bed at night, and when I dreamed.
As I got older, we started to grow apart. The world became a busier place–music got better, engines were louder, my dreams became rowdier, and I chose TV shows over Quiet’s truehearted companionship.
It isn’t any surprise that he left me.
Eventually, I became a grownup, and when I had children, Quiet simply disappeared; he knew there was no room for him anymore. As the kids grew into adults, I began thinking about him again and even tried looking him up, but he’s hard to find these days. I could do a Google search for him, but it’s useless; the Internet has only information on Quiet’s nemesis, Noise.
Recently I went looking for him at Starbucks. Two people beside me were conducting a job interview, a Bible study was going on at the long conference table, and the sounds indigenous to Starbucks created a cacophony: ice crunching, machines whirring, water running and blenders blending.
He wasn’t at the nail salon, either, but Noise was there. Children played video games on iPhones while buzzing, clipping, and filing sounds jockeyed for space in the din of Vietnamese shouting. Cars rushed by just outside the open door.
I’m not sure what I would do if I ran into him again. Would we recognize each other? Would we know how to treat each other? Now that so much time has passed and we’ve sort of moved on, would we learn to appreciate each other again?
I miss him, I do. I see glimpses of him at times that remind me how precious he really is — wine by the pool in a secluded backyard; a moment on the cushioned sofa with no one else home. These stolen moments are like a whiff of familiar cologne–a delicate reminder of pleasurable days spent in mutual appreciation of one another.
I’m still looking for him. If you see him, please tell him I’m all grown up now and would never take him for granted again.