A Silent Meal

May 19, 2022

Julia Magsombol (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer

 

Not a day goes by without noise in this world. We hear our irritating and repetitive alarm first thing in the morning. We talk to many people when we go to school or work. We speak to a lot of people in a day. Even when you eliminate literal noise, our minds are always occupied with deep thought as well. We think about the projects that are due in school or at work. Most of us think about the debts we need to pay in the future or the bills we need to pay by the month’s end. Some of us even think about the past and the things we regret, and some worry about the future and how it will treat us. We are always occupied with noise, whether that’s a noise around us or inside our own minds. I realize that none of us are ever free from the world’s noise and I wonder if you think about this as well.

 

I am thinking about this idea even as I am sitting down right now in my quiet room while typing these sentences. Ten minutes ago, my mind was noisy as always. I was thinking about projects that are due and perhaps someone I have longed for a very long time. My mind is never quiet, it is always noisy. But since my mind is calmer now, I assess the things that have happened today even though my day has not consisted of much. I woke up in the afternoon because I’m an insomniac. I always end up falling asleep between 6 am and 7 am and so I woke up at 3 pm today; I ate and did some chores around the house. I did some work, and I ate again. Nothing special, really. But I realized that I ate a meal with my father.

 

I guess that’s something different from my day-to-day basis because it’s been a long time since we’ve eaten a meal together. I always eat by myself, and I never care if I eat alone as long as my meal is tasty. 

 

I won’t call that occurrence special but instead, rather strange. My father has always been away from home because he’s always working. I don’t blame him for that, and in fact, I’m very proud of him. He needs to feed his family and meet the monthly expenses starting from the mortgage, taxes, vehicles, insurance and much more. And so eating a meal with him is strange because there’s only a 20% chance of this occurring. But aside from that small chance, I was able to eat with him today.

 

I felt embarrassed when I ate with him earlier. I had always been close with him when I was a little kid because he was jobless then, so he took care of me all the time instead of my mother. But in this situation, I felt embarrassed and this awkward feeling just kept boiling up. The silence had been going on for ten minutes and I could not stand another second of it so I asked him about his work and if it was busy. He only answered with a sentence. The silence went on again. Minutes passed by, and when I was almost done, he asked me if I wanted more rice, and that he would reheat it. I was already full, but for some reason, I couldn’t refuse, so I said yes and smiled. He took the now heated rice from the microwave and added it to my plate. At this moment, I felt like my heart would explode, and I didn’t know if I should cry or smile or laugh. I simply didn’t know what emotions or reactions I should portray, so I decided to be silent. I never said anything and neither did he. Instead, we both continued to eat without speaking. 

 

The silence went on and on, but I felt something, and what I felt was his love and warmth. As uncomfortable as it sounds, I did feel his love with his actions in silence. I guess people are all different and they show their love in the ways that they can. I would have never noticed the things he did if there was noise. If there was, I would have known in my mind that it was just a boring meal that I shared with my father. An ordinary occurrence that I would almost forget as time passed.

 

I guess that’s what silence does; it allows us to notice little and special things we miss in our everyday, mundane lives. The value of silence is limitless, and I would have preferred that over any useless noise I hear daily.

 

After we ate, he took my plate with his and washed them. I never said anything. It was all silent, and I appreciated every second of it. 

 

 

Julia Magsombol is currently a journalism student from Edmonton, Canada, who desires to bring hope to people through her writing. When not writing or reading, you can catch her sewing clothes, painting nature and drinking instant coffee.

One thought on “A Silent Meal

  1. This short story made me realize how much I’ve become reliant on the everyday noises. Especially from cars, mobile devices, amplified music through speakers, or even the neighborhood construction noises. It provided me distraction from difficulties from monetary problems to recurring intrusive thoughts. However, it also caused destruction in relevance to having a focus mind in accomplishing daily goals and objectives, sleep, and my overall general health.

    In like manner, the author reminded me of  why I tend to remember and cherish the moments I’ve spent with my love one’s in amidst of silence. Despite it’s association with awkwardness, silence helps us reflect and untangle the obstacles that comes in our way. It helps us learn and give meaning to the little things in life.  Last but not the least, it provides comfort, serenity, and warmth to those with anxious and troubled mind.

    As powerful, loud, and limitless as silence thank you dear author for providing me comfort through this short story.

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