For once, there is no breeze. The surface of the pond is glass smooth and obsidian dark, reflecting the half circle of moon and the splash of stars across the clear sky. Orion, my favorite winter constellation, is high overhead.

Finally, it is quiet. The bustle of the day has passed; the sounds of cooking and cleaning and togetherness have been replaced by the click of Harvey’s nails on the concrete floor of the apartment and the roar of the wood-burning stove. My brother and I sit on our make-shift beds, not talking, typing by the lights of Christmas tree. Occasionally he chuckles.

I just want to let the silence wash over me. If I could swim in the silence, drinking it out of a raised cup, I would. It is too cold to sit outside, otherwise I would find myself lying on the dock, watching the stars spiral slowly overhead and letting the quiet press in on my ears. To borrow a phrase from a movie that largely lacked clever turns of phrase, I would knock on the sky and listen to the sound it made.

It was a bustling day. Now, as I sit alone with the dark mirrors of the windows and the pond endlessly reflecting the twinkle of the Christmas lights, I am glad for the quiet.

I think I will spend New Year’s somewhere far away from people, listening to myself think.

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