man in darkness with face hidden

Music From the Other Room

By Victoria Fedulova on August 9, 2016


It's quiet in the other room. Too quiet. But silence is your friend.

You are at your desk, reading, your back to the door. You have had this desk for as long as you can remember. A generic dark-brown wooden desk with four drawers full of clutter you hardly ever use. A non-descript desk lamp is on, casting a hot yellow light on physics equations.

The cat is on the windowsill just beyond your reach, perched on top of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The cat is always curious about the outside. Part of your mind is wondering what it is there, exactly, that he finds interesting. There are no birds out there, as there are no trees. There is nothing but concrete all around. Concrete sidewalks and roads, a greyish unpaved rectangular space designated as a dogs' playground with a ghost of last year's grass on it. The grass always looks last year. And the sounds – those sounds could wake up the dead. The cat was so scared of them when you brought him home, all that screeching and grating of train wheels scraping against rail tracks. Not just regular train sounds. A passing train would sound soothing. But these ear-splitting screams of steel are freight cars rushing downhill, as if about to crash.

It's nothing, really. It's just the way they sort out which trains empty cars should get attached to. The force of gravity in action. Energy-saving.

Your textbook forgotten, you are staring at the wallpaper, not really seeing its faded flowery pattern on the grey-brown background. Can't concentrate anymore. The door is open and you can sense him standing in the doorway, watching you. A squishy ball of something viscous is twitching and squirming in your throat. It's hard to breathe. How long has he been there? Why is he doing that? Just standing there, saying nothing. Should you ask him what he wants?

You can't. Hush. You shouldn't. Can't close the door either.

He hates closed doors. Closed doors make him angry.


It's quiet in the other room. This silence hurts your ears as if you were submerged deep under water. [...]


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