Another creative piece from one of my students – again, feedback would be most appreciated.

“Silence is golden, duct-tape is silver”

It had been 4years, 7 months and 27 days since her vow of silence had began… and 4 years, 7 months and 27 days since she had first become a victim of the Governments Foster care program for childen-with-insane-fathers-who-like-to-murder-their-wives-in-their-sleep.

Problem with not talking Number One:

  • Not being able to tell people the truth

However this was a small blimp in a some what serene existence without words.

“It is simple,” she ponders “watching the world silently and not having to answer everyone’s tedious questions”.

Her “Legal Foster guardians” as the Government letters called her two obese and worrisome carers, thought this was just a phase, part of the mourning which every teenager goes through when their father-goes-loco-and-kills-the-only-person-you-loved. They knew nothing about the intricacy or quiet deliberation of her young yet matured mind. They knew nothing of the quiet pain and slow torture of loneliness and fear that poisoned her mind like a slow releasing toxin…

Even as they told her off now, fingers pointing towards her, using words such as “young lady” and “very disappointed”, she knew she had done the right thing.

Problem with not talking Number Two:

  • No one can hear your side of the story.

The man was homeless, that much was obvious by his un-kept hair and his socks which were more holier then all the Churches of England put together. He had only wanted food. Surely, in a bread-house that is punching out hundreds of loaves everyday, a single loaf for a single man without a single penny would be acceptable.

Through her quiet observation, Tandia’s had watched the man from her window as he stood outside the bake house window, staring longingly at the freshly baked bread who’s aromas made his mouth water and his stomach hurt with desire and need. He placed his grimy hands on the shop window and closed his eyes, pretending the bread was entering his mouth and his hunger would soon be sated.

Minutes past and though Tandia knew her maths homework would not do itself, she could not take her eyes off the homeless man. She watched the people wander into the bakehouse, buying croissants and finger buns and savoury treats. She watched the children greedily stuffing their faces with chocolate muffins, crumbs spilling down their private-school uniforms while the homeless man looked on in agony and her cheap public school skirt rubbed the skin off her hip bones.

The sun faded behind the unforgiving towers of London and as the frost crept in the homeless man lay down on the park bench, eyes still fixed on the now darkened window of the bakehouse where, so close, yet so far his desired bread remained out of reach.

Problem with not talking Number 3:

  • Not being able to tell people what to do.

Tandia tossed and turned in bed, the image of the homeless man and the bread seared onto her retinas. Eventually Big Ben tolled Midnight and she sat up, breathing heavily, for she knew what she had to do…

As her Foster Carers told her off, giving her the whole “stealing is wrong” lecture, Tandia ponders still the injustices of the world she lives in.

“So,” she argues back silently “It is wrong to steal a single loaf of bread yet it is ok for a homeless man to starve for want of food? You say we live in a fair world?”

Problem with not talking Number 4:

  • Not being able to point out the injustices of the world

Though as she sat, still feeling the sting of the prejudice words ringing against her ears, she pondered that even if she DID speak- she would still remain unheard.

“There is a large difference…” She thinks “Between listening and actually hearing someone.”

The news and current affairs are clogged with stories of injustice, so a homeless man starving would be nothing new. It wouldn’t even make the front page of a cheap newspaper but for some reason- Tandia can’t get him out of her head.

Even now, hours later, she can still fear his helpless stare on her back as she raised the rock in her hand, watching her with his sad quiet eyes as she shattered the glass and it rained down like diamond tears, weeping.

She listened to the TV murmuring on in the background, fixating her carers with its optimism and tragedy, humour and death.

“Too involved in what is not real. Too busy looking into fantasy to see who is hurting on the park bench outside the window.”

And that, Tandia realizes, is what it means to grow up. The ears are switched off, the brain is involved with self-consumed worry’s and the hands are too busy applying ones makeup and straightening ones tie to take the time to stoop and reach out for those everyone else chooses to ignore.

Problem with not talking Number 5:

  • Not being able to tell people why your heart is breaking

Frustration gives way to despair and Tandia sighs, closing her eyes and trying to block out the world, covers her ears and brings her legs to her chest, holding herself. Just as the homeless man huddles on the bench against the bitter cold, she huddles against the dark futility that threatens to overthrow her.

She weeps.


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