“Do you want me to stop at the store on the way home?” her husband asked from the bathroom as he combed his hair. He waited for an answer and sighed. When would he remember?
He walked out to the kitchen and repeated his question as he put on his jacket and grabbed his lunch. His wife, holding her first cup of coffee in her hands, nodded her head, and handed him a list. Her husband read it, and tucked it into his jacket pocket. She followed him to the front door, where he said, “I love you, see you later.” She smiled as he leaned in for a quick kiss.
After locking the door, she settled into her soft blankets on the couch. It was the beginning of another quiet day, the same as the others since she had come home from the doctor’s office. Her Bible and her coffee eased her into the morning.
About 11:30, her phone rang, and she picked it up to see who would call her. Seeing her husband’s face on the screen, she smiled and set down the phone. I wonder how long it will take him to figure it out this time? A few moments later, her phone buzzed, and she read the text message.
“Hi, honey. Sorry I forgot and tried to call you. How is your day going?”
She typed him a message back. “All’s quiet on the home front. Getting ready to work on my book.”
A message came soon after. “Have a great day. Love you.”
She typed back. “Love you.”
She opened up her computer and began to work. Her mind wandered as she stared at her first draft covered with red strike throughs and comments from her editor. She drank from her water bottle. Ever since the operation, her thoughts ran deeper and more complex. No talking meant more thinking. She wondered how people lived without spoken communication.
All of her thoughts, these past two days, had belonged to her. Aside from emails and texts, her world had turned silent. At first she had fought against it, texting her husband at the dinner table to simulate communication. But after the second day, she embraced the peaceful quiet evenings, and listened to her husband instead, encouraging him with a nod and a smile. A hug seemed to demonstrate her support more than her words ever had done.
Turning back to her computer, she started into the tangled mess of words that would become her book. Hours passed as she sorted out sentences, hacked away the excess, and reformed the plot. When she looked up, it was time to start dinner.
Even though her doctor-imposed silence would end after a week, she felt peace like she had never experienced. Maybe those monks had it right with their vows of silence. What had begun as exile from the land of conversation turned into a refreshing retreat.