Day 17 of the A to Z Challenge is the letter “Q”:
Q is for Quiet
There are people in my life who don’t seem to like quiet. It’s as if even a moment of silence makes them anxious, uncomfortable. Sometimes that’s not a good thing, since I am a person who loves quiet. I think about things — a lot. Maybe too much. Some people call it monkey-mind. But the older I get, the more I need quiet to think.
I’m often curious about why some people aren’t comfortable with silence. Because of that curiosity (I’ve spent many quiet moments pondering it,) I wrote the trait into my character, Sachi.
The following excerpt takes place on the anniversary of Papa’s death. Sachi is alone. In the quiet, a thought she’s been trying to escape pushes its way to the surface.
Everything was still and quiet, as if the cold air had frozen the world. She hated the quiet, especially today.
What if . . .
There it was again, ramming its way into her consciousness. Unease rippled inside, and she searched for a distraction, a place to hide. But the street was empty. Quiet.
She started running, as if she could escape the thought. But it was too strong this time. There was nothing to drive it away. It burst into her mind, full force. She stopped. Breathless. Overcome.
If I hadn’t begged Papa to take me to the park, he might still be alive.
Tears burned her eyes. It was her fault. She covered her face with her hands, hoping darkness would hide her from the bitter realization. Mama had warned them that it wasn’t a good idea to go to the park that day. Papa had probably agreed, but with Sachi begging day after day, he’d finally given in and ignored Mama’s warning.
It was her fault.
If she hadn’t dragged Papa there, if she had left when Papa said it was time to go, those boys wouldn’t have found him. If Mama and Nobu blamed those boys, surely they blamed her, too.
I’m sorry, Papa.
Something cold tingled on the top of her head, trickled down her collar. Goose bumps? No. It was colder. It prickled on her hands, too. She took them from her face and opened her eyes.
White flakes drifted all around her. They landed on her eyelashes, her nose, her tongue. She stared at the flakes that landed on her jacket, lifted her arm to her eyes to see better. Tiny, tiny crystals, shaped like the ones she cut from paper, each different from the others, but all clinging together.
Her first snow.