quiet, quiet

by chloe li

They say being born mute is a rare occasion.

Now you see a girl as she sits quietly on the outside. but on the inside thunder and lightning roared in her own eardrums as ideas and much too loud opinions raced between every corner of her brain. The noise might be unbearable to many others; to her it is comfort and a secret she likes to broadcast to only herself. Then a group of men, in pace as a hydra as if their bodies were one with multiple fire-breathing heads, walk past. The look on their faces warns her ideas to slow down, but still they do not stop. She avoids their prowling gazes and yet they continue to stalk closer. Whistling and demeaning comments become unbearable to her as they drown out her ideas.

And soon enough there is only silence.

There are others like her. One, a traveller, settled where he feels safe and attempts to build a palace for his future to make a legacy for himself. He doesn’t communicate, making auditory connections as they speak a language he doesn’t understand. Yet his own language dances around golden ideas made of the American Dream. He’s shaking, waiting in long lines for hours at a time for one single opportunity. The man tries to bring the dances to the main stage by reading newspapers with their foreign language he can’t understand. He reads and he reads and reads to find an opportunity for himself. Until he understands every word, he reads and reads and reads. Suddenly, a white man with his head held unnaturally high as if no pressure or stress has ever touched his head appears on the pages he holds in his hands. The white man has said something:

“They shouldn’t be here taking jobs from our people.”

He reads as his existence is debated between more unnaturally high heads and the dances halt and the music stops abruptly.

Then there are the younger ones. She sings the loudest in the church about a God who loves all. She wishes everyone behaved the same. Her own love for all screams louder than the chorus of children shouting GOD IS GOOD. She hugs and she loves even louder. She kisses and she loves even louder. She loves one who is like herself, but with long red hair rather than her own long brown hair. Her love screams once again, like children during summer as the sun shines down over them. She then goes home and hears news of a cousin who loves like her. Her love shouts again at the news that others are

like her. Then another screams overpower her own, her own mother screams saying, “Her poor parents. How will they deal with raising a sinner?”

And now she realizes she must muffle those screams of love.

They say being born mute is rare. But how rare is it truly when the world is full of

silencers and those who refuse to allow those who have a voice to use it?


Chloe K. Li is a SPA/SOC freshman from Brooklyn, NY. She has been writing from a young age, and is currently (barely) working on a fiction novel.