October 27th, 2019 by Patrick Starks
Everywhere I go I just can’t seem to find some goddamn silence. Its already enough that the mind is a struggle to quiet, but the minds of others can just be so overwhelming at times that your head feels like it’s going to explode, and in some cases, you go insane to point suicidal thoughts come to mind, although, I’d never thought of doing such, well… maybe once, but it had gone over my head like a pitcher that had just given the batter his first home run.
But where could I go? I’ve tried libraries, and every single one of them seems to be a nothing but a social get together. Yeah, there are study rooms but even those are pointless, because the insulation in them is as poor as my poor ears that have too keep hearing every little thing that comes around the corner. Someone once told me that pursuing in silence would probably drive me insane, but what’s really driving me insane is the lack of silence in the world, to not be within my own thoughts. Out of all the holidays that we have in the world, maybe, just maybe, we could have a day that proposes everyone to just shut the fuck up for once, but being the social creatures that we are, that in a lot of ways would be reaching… But a man can still dream, right…?
But then I’d read something in the article about NASA creating some sort of anechoic chamber. In the article it said that the chamber was so quiet that you could hear your own heartbeat but couldn’t hear your footsteps, strangely. They said that the longest anyone was able to bear being in it was 45 minutes, which sounded like child’s play to me because even with a scary looking ginger head doll in front of me I could’ve been there for as long as 2 hours without screaming for help. Well, that’s if the doll didn’t move, smile, or blink, etc., you get the point.
Nothing had ever sounded as promising as it did now. So, I tore out the page of the article and headed back home to show my ex-girlfriend Renda who still lived with me at the time. Unlike me, she wasn’t at all quiet, in fact, she was the loudest of them all. Opposites attract but obviously you can see how that turned out for the both of us, although, there’s still a flame somewhere between us no matter how faint it looks at time. I guess it really comes to who wants to finally blow it out or poor gasoline on it, and well… neither one of us have made a move still. And for that, we drive each other insane.
“What the hell do you mean your going to Minnesota?” she yelled, frustratingly. “What the hell is in Minnesota? You can’t just up and leave like that. We have rent, we have bills.”
Usually, I was a lot more empathetic about how Renda felt, but seeing how she hadn’t payed a damn thing for three years, everything she’d said had gone one ear and out the other. I’d gave her a kiss on the forehead and told her that I’d always have love for her, and that going to that chamber was something that I needed to do; maybe there was a lesson for me to learn from it. As I’d left Renda in a pool of tears, the rain outside poured as if there was a storm coming. It was Déjà vu. Every time something like this happened in my life, rather it was my heart that was broken or the others, there would always be rain on that same day or the next. It then dawned on me to question if that was what putting the flame out was and if the feeling I was feeling now and in the past, was the feeling of it. But if there was one thing that I’d learned throughout all my years, it was that no one always comes out the hero at the end, there are sometimes you will have to play the villain to make a better life for both parties, on the contrary, who’s to say that the villain is a villain at all. I’d always been the heart broken yet, there I stood in the middle of a puddle, half filled with rain and the other half with my tears as one of the heartbreakers.
Nevertheless, life had to go on and I needed to be within my own thoughts, I needed to find silence, especially if I was going to get over me and Renda, although, therapeutically I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone but myself, because being alone with such circumstances, on a serious note, can kill some people.
I hopped in my 2012 Kia Optima and headed straight to the SeaTac Airport. They had one more seat available to Minnesota. I didn’t have any luggage which made everything easy for me, however, one of the security guards that had a handlebar mustache couldn’t keep his eyes off me. He was obviously a veteran at his job with all the wrinkles around his neck. Must’ve been 70 years of age from what I could tell. His eyes were beady-blue, but I think that was only due to the tinted coke bottle glasses he wore. On the side of his waist wasn’t a flashlight or a taser, but a Butterfinger of all things. I grinned and thought, what’s he going to do with that beat me down with it until I have diabetes. But before I’d gotten on the plane, he’d stop me.
“Hey you!” he yelled.
“Yes…” I replied, with concern.
“Nothing…” the security guard grinned. “Just wanted to stop and get a better look at you, and let you know that your being watched.”
“Yeah, you will be if you try anything funny. Now go, I’m tired of looking at you. All you millennials are the same.”
Part of me wanted to give the old security guard a piece of my mind but that was exactly what he wanted, an altercation, and I just wasn’t about to give him that kind of power. Not there, not now.
B2 was my seat number, perfectly in the front. It was probably the most comfortable seat that I’d ever been in but of course that was because it was business class, which wasn’t a shock to why there was still a seat left in the first place. I was just glad that I’d been smart about my savings.
I never liked planes. Heights just weren’t my thing, but before my anxiety would kick in, I’d downed myself 3-4 shots of Jim Bean apple and I’d be out like a light, almost. I don’t know what the man was listening to next to me, but it was louder than it needed to be. In those days people either stopped giving a dam about headphones or just blasted it enough to the point they’d probably be deaf about time they’d reached their senior age. Overall, it was just annoying.
But something about the voice sounded familiar. So, I took a peek over at the man’s computer and it was just what I thought, Tony fuckingRobbins. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Tony, in fact, he’s an incredible uplifting man but I just couldn’t stand seeing people who didn’t take his lessons to heart. I don’t like contradictors. And I don’t like to judge people, but the man was a complete contradiction of all Tony practiced. Next to the man was Cigar that probably shouldn’t have even been smoked on the plane but telling by the way the man femininely crossed his legs with his shimmering brow penny loafers, he must have been some six figure CEO asshole that always got everything his way. But then again, I could’ve been wrong about that. Although, seeing all the sick bastards that have taken advantage of so many women in their high-class careers, I’d somewhat lost fate to if any wealthy man was a saint. But again, I could still be so wrong on that.
“You know, if you want me to turn it down all you have to do is ask?” said the man, sipping from a glass of martini.
“Apology not excepted,” the man chortled.
“No, I mean I’m sorry as in…”
“I know what you meant. Relax, I’m just joking with you young man. I just noticed that you’ve been staring at me and my computer for almost ten minutes, pondering on what you should say and how you should do it. You’re one of those quite ones, aren’t you? Yeah, you’re definitely one of them. I mean, I should know growing up around one my whole life.”
“And before you say I’m sorry,” interrupted the man. “Maybe you should think about silence overall.”
I looked around the plane. It had to be a prank. Maybe Ashton Kutcher or Rob Dyrdek would come out and tell me that it was all just a joke, and that they were just testing peoples boiling points, which wouldn’t have been a surprise at all seeing how there had already been a show that was literally based off of that.
The man then closed his laptop and turned to me.
“You won’t find anything when you get there,” he said. “My little sister tried it a couple of years back, and now…”
“Now what?” I asked.
“Well, let’s just say that she’s being constrained by a few straps and being watched over by some fairly good people who I pay a great deal to make sure she doesn’t try… well, you know…”
The man then took his hand, looped it around his neck like a lasso, tilted his head, and stuck out his tongue. It was unsettling because once I’d seen Renda try the same thing. I still to this day can never get the vision out of my head, but I guess that’s why I couldn’t leave her either. I worried, and I worried now, thinking of what she might try to do with me gone.
“Why are you telling me this… What are you talking about?”
“Come on, you don’t have to play stupid with me. The anechoic chamber,” said the man, sternly, as he leaned into me and whispered. “Say are you any kind of trouble?”
“No, what makes you think that?”
“Someone’s been following you.”
I looked around. All of sudden things were starting to warm up, but of course, I thought that that was just the bottles of Jim Bean still trying to pass through me. We’d come across some turbulence and so the plane was beginning to get a bit rocky, like that last time I was one the Apollo Cruise and had gotten seasick. I can’t even remember how many times or how long I’d thrown up that day, but Renda had been there with me every step of the way. The remembrance alone made me miss her.
“Yowzers,” said the man, awkwardly. “Better buckle up, looks like a storm’s coming.”
The flight attendant then made her way up to the front and spoke on the intercom:
Please, if everyone will remain seated. I just spoke with our captain and we are coming across some turbulence. Please buckle up and do not get out of your seat until will give further instructions, thank you. Also, enjoy tonight’s film Passenger 57 starring Wesley Snipes.
“Oh, come on! Who plays a movie like that on a plane!” shouted a man from the back, scared to death. “Jesus, we’re all going to fucking die. Nice knowing you all!”
“Jackson calm down…” said a woman, with chocolate hair, that sat next to the man. “Here, have another drink.”
The man from the back then had his drink and he’d be like a baby and its bottle, completely silent and then sleepy afterwards.
As the flight attendant suggested, everyone buckled up and remained in their seats. The man next to me had already put his earbuds back in and the sound that came from them would be louder than before. Again, Tony fucking Robbins.
We’d finally made it through the turbulence and made a safe landing. My legs were completely numb, and almost killed me and everyone in front as I’d walked down the steps, but thankfully there was railing. When I’d gotten down, I would feel a tap on my shoulders.
“What do you want n…” I paused. “Renda?”
“Yeah…” she nodded, still teary-eyed.
“What are you doing here?”
“I got nowhere to go Logan… And I couldn’t let you go by yourself either. We need each other. I need you; I love you.”
And there it was, the gasoline onto the flame, and every bit of it felt as good as it did when we’d first met 5 years ago in Art History class at Seattle Central Community College.
Renda was right. But still, I’d hoped I for once in my life could just do it all by myself. But there had been a voice inside of my head that whole entire time telling me that it was all a mistake, and that there would be consequences if I wasn’t smart about my decision. Before I’d say anything that stupid that I would regret, I came in closer to Renda and placed her head into my chest. Immediately, I could feel her tears soak into my linen shirt.
“You’re right…” I said. “I’m sorry.”
“Wait… So, you don’t get what I’m saying?” asked Renda, annoyed.
“No babe, what I meant was that I’m… Ugh, never mind, can we just get inside already, I’m freezing my balls off.”
Renda nodded and smiled.
When we walked into the lobby of the airport it was emptier than expected. Both me and Renda’s stomach growled to the smell of junk food in the air, and it was junk food because healthy foods never smelt as good as what we were smelling then. Only butter, grease, fat, and god only knows what else goes into food like could make such a hypnotizing smell. And whatever it was, it worked.
“So, I guess you found your stalker,” said a voice.
I looked to my left. It was the same man that sat next to me on the plane.
“I’m sorry, but I never got your name,” I replied, curiously.
“Don’t have one,” the man smiled.
Renda had felt awkward the whole entire time. Something about the man was strange to her, and she wouldn’t be the first to feel such a way. He stared at her as if he was trying to see what was under her yellow sweater and black denim jeans. Heroically, I’d stepped in front of her because no one looks at my girl like that, and I mean no one. But as uncomfortable as she felt Renda had gone over to the food booth to find us something to eat. She was hungry and creeped out.
“Pizza or hot dog?” she asked, softly.
“Either or, you choose babe,” I smiled.
Strangely the man had smiled to, and Renda wasted no time walking off because of it.
“You know with such a gorgeous one as that one, I’m stunned by how a man like you would want to throw away a turtle dove like that for silence, and it’s the damn holidays of all times. Christmas is just two weeks away.”
I rolled my eyes.
“You wouldn’t understand…”
“Try me,” said the man, curiously, folding up his newspaper.
“Why should I tell you anyways, you’re just some stranger with no name.”
“Who said anyone needed a name at all to be trusted. Hell, there are plenty of people out there with names, great ones, that I can say that if you trusted them your life would be a ruin in a blink of an eye,” said the man. “But little did you know, I happened to be the man that owns the building to the very place you are trying to seek sanctuary.”
“Yes, and if you tell me why you’re avoiding being with a girl that loves you so dearly, then maybe, just maybe, I’ll give you the keys to it.”
The storm outside was picking up and inside it seemed it was getting colder by the minutes. And about time Renda had gotten back the pizza would be cold as fuck, but that was one of the things me and her enjoyed anyways, cold pizza, especially for breakfast in the morning. Once me and Renda had finished eating, she’d passed out in the lobby, in my arms. Guess she didn’t get much sleep on the plane.
“So, are you going to tell me?” the man continued to ask. “Or should I just head home now, because the only reason I’m here in the first place is because well… you amuse me. You remind me of my sister, like the other quite ones, just different, like you’re some sort of hybrid in a sense. What’s your name young man?”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Get the hell out of here with that. You didn’t even tell me your name and now you want me to tell you mine.”
“Of course, because my decision is my own. You are not me and I am not you, so by me choosing not to do something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it either. It’s funny to me you know. We’re all like walking mirrors, trying to mimic every move of each other without even knowing why we move, why we breathe or why we think of the things we do every day. It’s like we’re all in autopilot, not even seeing or hearing the inner thoughts of what we want. Sure some might call it selfishness, but I’ve found people who say that are sometimes people who are too lazy to take care of themselves, and so, they pressure people like you and I to drop the selfcare of ourselves to help them. But then who is taking care of us.”
I sat in awe by all that I’d just heard. Everything the man had just said was exactly what I’d been feeling. Life in a lot of ways was one big dance party and you only ever had three choices. You could be part of a group aka the dance team. You could be the DJ inspiring others to move the way you feel that’s best suited for life. Or three, you could be the solo dancer, creating your own space, your own movement, your own energy, and without even being on beat.
“So?” the man said.
“I’m not avoiding anyone. Its just these thoughts in my head, I just need time to put all the pieces together.”
The man smiled cynically. “Go on,” he persisted.
And then I’d explain:
When I was a kid I grew up around a lot of people. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends of cousins, you name it, I grew up around everyone. It was okay at first because I was just a kid, but the older I’d gotten I’d found myself conforming to a lot of groups that made me just what I wasn’t or what I didn’t want to be. You see, I was one of those kids I didn’t mind playing by myself. I’d take any piece of carboard box I could find and make it into something—a car, a boat, a mask, pretty much anything that I could think of. But about time I’d entered middle school I’d found myself just trying to do my best to fit in because at the end of the day I needed to learn how to be social, that I do agree, but to what extent, if it meant me sacrificing my well being or peace of mind. Who knows… maybe I just needed to surround myself around the right people. Anyways, as you may already know, I went through a lot of heartbreaks and rejections that pretty much made me paranoid by everything that was thrown at me. I’ve had so many regrets because there was so many opportunities for me to have it all, but I dropped the ball, in order to stand by the few that had never stood by me. Before Renda, there was this girl I grew up named Sunny Dae, and yes, that was her name.
“Wait, wait, wait… Just stop, just… stop. What does any of this have to do with you avoiding that lovely girl in your arms and putting yourself in a hermit box?” asked the man, frustratingly.
I smiled and continued, and the man would slouch in his chair like a bored and disappointed child. But he did ask for the truth and you can only get that from starting from the beginning.
As I was saying, Sunny Dae was well, my soul mate. We had a lot of things in common. We both liked to sing, we both liked to play video games, we both loved Korean BBQ but of course, that was easy seeing how she was Korean. She was perfect, she was beautiful in every way, but when she’d been sent back to Korea and later gotten married, I’d lost hope. That was when I learned in life, maybe I had a different purpose. I mean, how could you have something so good but then lose it so easily. How could something so destined be stripped apart. But then I met Renda years later in college, and everything about her terrifies me, the world terrifies me because you just don’t know what will happen… And I just can’t deal with the disappointment any more… That is why I need to go into that chamber. It’s the only way I know I will be free from a world of regret or disappointment but this angel in my arms… I have to admit, gives me so much hope to try one more time.
The man then straightened himself in his chair and turned to me.
“You’ll die in that chamber,” he said, confidently.
I was silent, I honestly didn’t know what to think of it.
“You have no idea what you’re asking for. Your pretty much asking to not be human…”
I still said nothing to the man and nodded, as Renda rubbed her head up against my chest for better comfort.
“Fascinating… Absolutely fascinating, and at such a young age. I can’t believe you’ve actually done it…”
“Done what?” I asked
“You’ve grown beyond human young man. Me and a friend of mine were studying this and achieved it. You see, there are 4 steps to becoming fully developed. My sister had almost reached it but cracked, and honestly, I can see why. I mean, women just have a lot more pressure than us guys. They not only have to carry another being in their body, but they also have to find a partner who is willing to create such with them, while being held against the pressure of time. It’s frustrating.”
I had no disagreement with it. Hands down, women had more pressure than men, which was why no matter what I’d gone through with Renda, I understood her life and I’d done my best to help. The man then listed off the four;
- One, being a child. Learning how to communicate and walk.
- Two, you’re teenager. Hormones are raging and your looking for a connection with the opposite sex. Some find that connection, some don’t, but either way this is what we do.
- Third, you become a young adult. You find out what you like but don’t quite know what path of it you want to head. You join groups for knowledge or safe passage. You look towards mentors that can show you things that can help you avoid the mistakes they’ve made but later you find that their methods aren’t at all up to date because the world as some don’t realize evolves every year.
- Four, you’ve gone through all the turmoil of life and literally have had your ass kicked. Some come out superheroes and some come out villains, and sadly, some come out dead. This is the final stage. And if you are the superhero that I’m looking at, then you probably see the world like Neo from the Matrix. You can read peoples body language. You can hear the tone of their voice. You can literally suck out the negative energy in them and put back in positive. You can see bullshit or potential from a mile away. Metaphorically Speaking you become a fucking god, and you didn’t even need the money to do it. And that is one of the things a lot of wealthy people miss, But not me. Remember this young man, the saying shouldn’t go Mind over Matter, the saying should go Mind over Money.
Me and the man were now at a standoff. Neither one of us had a word to say. We were both completely blown away by one another. Renda then woke up, and still half asleep gave me a peck on the cheek. I looked down at her and her eyes looked back up at me so passionately than I’d ever seen them. I had everything that I needed right there, and if not, fuck it, out of all that I’d been through I was going to thrive regardless of the circumstance’s I faced. I had to give life another chance, if not more.
I looked back over to my left and the man was gone. On his seat was a key card, with a posted note on it that said, To the Chamber.
“So, are you going to go now?” asked Renda. “I can wait for you…”
That was Renda, always thinking of me before herself. It was sweet.
“No,” I smiled. “We’re going back home.”
It didn’t know what to do with the key, so I gave it to one of the people in the lost and found. Little did I know I didn’t need a chamber at all because at the end, my mind was the chamber. I could block out anything I wanted, if I wanted silence. I just could never block out Renda. As we walked up and got our tickets back to Seattle, I couldn’t help but feel as if someone was watching me, but Renda was right next to me, so I knew this time it wasn’t her. Maybe it was the man, I thought.
Before we’d realized it, we were on the plane headed back to Seattle. But then the flight attendant then said something on the intercom that gave me the chills. And everyone around would stare at one another with confusion.
“Alright everyone, the captain has a special announcement to make. For all you quiet ones headed back home, he has decided to pay for all of your ticket’s you payed for coming to Minnesota. We hope you’ve learned something out of this, thank you.”
Without even thinking I’d run to the front of the plane, even tripped a few times on the way. When I open the door to the captain’s pit. There would be the man, again with a cigar next to him, with Tony fucking Robbins playing in the background. And out of all of things he could’ve said he just smiled at me and then turned himself back forward to focus on flying. But I guess that was what being a quiet one was.