In Silence, Someone Answers
June 23, 2021

Much as Zoom meetings have bridged the gap brought about by the pandemic, muted microphones, turned-off cameras, and silence have been quite the hindrances. However, see how the story will expose the hidden truth behind the mute and the faceless people we see on screen. Witness how silence heals and how empathy can make a difference especially in the digital world.

The room was painted in black and covered in black tiles with white engravings. Silver decors ornamented the space, and a red exit door by the far-right completed the ambiance. That room was no stranger to me; I feared entering that room — the mute and the faceless resided there.

“How are you?” I asked, holding onto some hope that I can bring color to this dull room with a painted smile that would tear my features apart and a voice that came from the seventh heaven. I tried — I really did. But not a single word came out of their lips or their hands’ doings. Helplessness overwhelmed me, and I could only take their silence as an answer.

The void that came with silence was nothing short of horror for me. It was like the cold wind; it sent shivers down my spine, entered my system, through my veins, and into my blood to give me life momentarily. But in a snap of a finger or in a blink of an eye, the same wind could leave me and spare me not even a single thing.

My fear slowly turned into anger that fueled resentment within me. All I felt was hatred without even an ounce of pity for how helpless they were. Out of nowhere, the faceless revealed a broken smile and teary eyes that pierced my soul. The mute also declared in a shaking voice, “It’s tough. I don’t know anymore.”

I was paralyzed. My mouth was stitched, and I could only hide my face from the guilt I held after feeling such. It was not long until I suddenly became one with the mute and the faceless; for a moment, I knew what it felt like to be in their shoes. There I realized that silence was their only comfort. Silence was like a fine thread woven into our existence that weaved a shared experience — an
experience of temporary rest from a world filled with struggles and noise.

The spirit of empathy surged through my senses. My hands revealed my face once again, my eyes looked intently to their eyes, my ears lent themselves to listen, and my mouth uttered, “I’m sorry. Please, let me understand you.”

HONORABLE MENTION – SHORT STORY MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
LEN RUEL
17 years old
Male

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