He asks me…
Why so quiet?
I tell him…
You make your living with your voice.
I’ve made my life suppressing mine.
Not only do you use your voice…you give voice to the voiceless.
But only if someone else has harmed them.
I don’t think even you could give voice to the victim inside the self.
The kindest therapist, the most skilled doctor, the most loving friend…none can speak for
And I’m sure he is annoyed.
Because I have a voice. And I’m not using it. And that’s my fault.
So many of his victims have had their voices violently stolen from them. Through no fault
of their own.
This is a choice you’re making, he says. Make a different one, he says.
And he’s right.
And if I told him why I made this choice, he would scoff.
After the brutality he’s seen, my story would bore him.
After all, it’s not a crime when it’s inside a family, I say.
Yes it is, he says.
Not unless there’s something to point to, I say.
What do you mean?
I mean…something that can be seen outside. A black eye. A broken arm. Shattered glass.
Demolished furniture. Blood. A knife. A gun. Something.
A broken spirit leaves no scars. Killing the spark inside a child that makes them who they
are is not a crime. More’s the pity.
He is silent. I continue.
I used to think that no one would believe me if I spoke.
They would laugh, or think I was crazy. Worst of all, they might tell her.
Punishment would be swift. And severe.
Now, I’ve stayed silent so long that I don’t even believe myself anymore.
And she still punishes me anyway.
But who am I kidding?
He will never ask these things, nor say them.
Because I have made myself so bland that no one thinks there’s anything interesting in
So he doesn’t ask.
And I don’t volunteer.
And he goes on thinking I’m a smashing bore.
And I go on thinking his story (or anyone’s) is far more interesting than mine.
And I go on remaining silent.