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The was written for a writing group challenge. The theme was something I must quit or give up. This also happens to be the very first piece I have ever allowed to be read outside of immediate family. Hope you enjoy.
Silence is Pure
I could smell him before hearing him enter the room.
"Are you watching that sappy movie, again?” Griffin said
with overt disdain in his voice.
“Yes. What of it?”
“I swear Laken, you've seen it a thousand
“Fifty four actually. Don’t roll your eyes at me!
You know how I feel about Billy Crystal. ” I began to
laugh and snort, "You remember the Roy Rogers wagon
wheel coffee table?”
“Yeah, yeah I know.” His voice changed into a
girly screech, “'When Harry Met Sally is a
classic.’ Whatever, Pudge.”
Wanting him to get out of my line of sight, I sniffed loudly,
“Dude, seriously, you smell.”
"What? I showered before I left the locker room.”
Griffin said as he started to sniff his arm pit. Trying to
clear his nose, he muttered, “Ok, yeah I get it. By the
way, did Lexi call? She’s so hot.”
“She’s a senior and completely out of your league,
little brother. I suggest you move on.”
“Are you kidding?” he bellowed while stopping on
the stairs, “No one is out of my league. I’m the
Griff; everybody wants me. And you’re less than a minute
I made a gagging face. I honestly didn't see where he got
his confidence. Sure, he’s blonde haired, blue eyed,
6’2” broad shouldered and pure muscle. Not to
mention, a beast on the football field, but I’m at a
loss. How did our parents produce offspring that are so
completely opposite? We don’t even believe we’re
fraternal twins, much less anyone else.
Me, myself, I’m barely five foot even and have the
unfortunate gene to carry all my weight in my hips. I have red
hair, not bright red but the kind of red that’s mostly
blonde except when it’s wet. Yet, I was blessed with
the most vibrant green eyes you have ever seen this side of
Ireland. Unfortunately my glasses obstruct anyone from seeing
them, not that anyone was ever looking. I am known as the
quintessential “nerd”. I’m never without a
book and I can remember almost everything I have ever read or
even heard. I have only one friend; who is in love with my
ridicules brother to my dismay. So, I rarely let her come over
any more. No one needs to hear her sigh every time he walks in
the room or blush if he looks in her direction.
Griffin, on the other hand, is friends with everyone. He has
always had a way of charming people just by smiling and
speaking to them as if they’re his favorite person in
the world. Can you believe he has missed every test ever given
in an entire semester and still had a B average? Like I said,
he’s smarmy, I mean charming. I know it’s mostly
the football thing. Football is a religion around here. Sadly,
if we lose one game the entire town wears black like
they’re in mourning. But it’s been like this our
entire lives. I realize I sound bitter though I’m not.
I've enjoyed my anonymity and the fact that I can come
home, curl up on the sofa, and read or watch one of my movies
without being bothered by a phone call or people wanting to
The sound of the phone brought me back to reality. I checked
the caller ID and mumbled, “Oh look, Lexi’s
calling.” I decided to just let the machine get it; I
had no desire to hear her giggly voice say my brother’s
name. As soon as I get back into the movie, I heard the sound
of an elephant coming down the stairs.
“Why didn't you answer the phone?” my brother
whined with almost a hint of anger.
“Because, I had no need to speak with her. I knew you
would check the machine. You’re not even dry. Anyways,
I figured you would just call her back.” I gave him my
“now go away” stare.
“Oh. Okay.” He turned to go then stopped. “I
know I give you shit and try to hurt your feelings but, I
don’t mean it, okay?”
What? Where did that come from? I was too stunned to reply. I
just looked at him with what I hoped wasn't horror or
mass confusion, even though I was thoroughly confused. I
stammered “uh, yeah, I… I know.” He just
blinked at me a few times then retreated back up to his room.
The rest of the evening was uneventful. I could hear Griffin
talking on the phone until well after midnight. Practice
always starts at 8AM, coach insists you be there by 7:30. He
was always gone by the time I managed to get out of bed and
make it downstairs for breakfast. It was just our routine.
The next morning though, my entire world turned upside down
and forever inside out. I still remember the phone ringing and
my mom answering in her sing song voice then all I can
remember is being in the backseat of the car as my dad sped
down Front St. and then turned into the Mattie Williams
Medical Center. The ER had been filled by the entire football
team, all of the coaches, a few kids I knew from school, and
most of the track team. They were in every seat, standing in
every corner, and a few even waited outside. I vaguely
remember the looks of pity, sadness, and confusion. But I
remember the smell most of all. It was the smell of the
hospital; sickeningly sterile with a hint of cleaning products
and rubbing alcohol.
Coach Stone said he didn't seem to be tackled harder than
normal, but when they all hit the ground there was a loud
I was blocking my nose as I crept up next to him. He looked so
small in that bed.
“Griff,” I whispered.
His bloodshot eyes flickered open, “Do I smell that bad
Grinning, “not too bad.” I said.
He shot his dimpled pretty boy grin at me, “good, any
idea what’s going on?”
I shook my head, “the doc’s still talking to mom
He winced and made a small groaning sound then I heard the
sound that pierces my silence. My larger than life little
brother coughed then took his last breath. The sounds of his
machines and the roar of the blood rushing into my ears still
haunts me. At the funeral I couldn't be alone. If even
for a moment there wasn't someone or something making
noise or drawing my attention, I would start to panic. For
would wake up thinking I heard Griff laughing or worse
“It’s hard to believe I’m standing here
today as valedictorian sharing this very intimate memory with
you. The last two years have changed me in so many ways and
yet I’m still the same. I’m still the girl who is
never without a book and enjoys watching the same sappy movies
a thousand times. But I’m also the girl who has many
friends and lights up when the phone rings. I know Griff
would tell me “Pudge, you've got to give it up,
this shadow that haunts you. Let your sun shine.” My
classmates giggle because that was so Griff. It makes me smile
too. “I have to quit fearing the silence; silence is
pure. So today I’m giving up the noise. I’m giving
up the ghost and I’m giving up the shadow. Today I let
my sun shine.”
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