The silence grows and stretches almost into a murmur as the smoke from his pipe fills the dim room. Wisps of it swirl in front of my eyes and rest on my cheeks like an invisible veil. I can't breathe; I won't breathe until he speaks. But the silence stretches on and on, and I suck in a little of the smoke, his smoke. It smells like lavender and tastes like cinnamon. I close my eyes as it traces paths into my lungs, my stomach and my brain and when I open my eyes again they plead for him to speak. “Speak,” they beg. Still, the silence lingers.
Dimmer and dimmer the room becomes, and the shadows blur and grow longer. Will it be another day? Must I brave yet another sunset in waiting? My eyes never drop their gaze from his face, as he shifts almost imperceptibly. The faint light strikes his sharp features and bounces off in odd angles. Deeper than any spoken word or uttered sound, the look in his eyes pierces the air. It conveys meaning that the whole world's ears would never pick up were they to hear for the rest of Earth's existence. He knows. He understands what I want. He wants it for me too, will give it to me, and soon.
I will finally escape this darkness that has been my fate, the fate of my mother and her mother before her. The darkness that we were all destined to bear, waiting on a promise of old, etched not in ink but in blood, on all my ancestors' hearts. “He shall speak, and when he does, it will all come to an end.”
Oh, he will speak at last! I will yet hear that melodious rumbling they call a voice shatter the silence bearing down on my ears. No longer shall I hold and unhold my breath, breathe and unbreathe this air, feel and unfeel this anticipation.
He will speak his wisdom; a salve that emanates from deep inside his soul and right into my already open jar; a balm to soothe all the scars of war. The cerate that will calm the strife that is rife, within and without. Toiling hands, restless feet, shifty eyes and irregular heartbeats, all will find their rest in his wisdom. I quiver to think of the new beginning that will unfold from the end, with hope, joy, light…actual light!
This is the moment. The beginning. The end. Slivers of grey flow past his lips as he exhales and holds my gaze for an eternity. Then he parts his lips and rounds them up, taking in a short breath. I can't breathe; won't breathe, until he speaks.
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