The Sound of Silence

Warning: The following entry is perhaps one of the darkest entries written so far. It may induce emotional triggers and if that may be the case, I leave you to proceed at your own discretion.

Each person alive possesses a voice.

Even those who are born mute or disabled possess a voice. A free thinking mind, susceptible to ideas and thought, will always be intuitive to the voice within; by the labor and effort of those that try, one tiny voice can be the only thing that separates a person from being a mere whisper in the infinite chorus of people. A single voice can rally, unite and create movements; it enables us to relate, it allows us to convey ourselves, and in doing so we become very much alive.

***

Four hours go by in a quiet room somewhere in San Francisco. The WiFi there is crappy to say the least. Apparently the service provider features a SonicWall that bars access to adult oriented material – odd, because the last time I checked, the blog itself lacked any form of viral media such as pornography. I admit that I’m somewhat amused by this rather flattering discovery. Unable to post an entry, I attempt to write down a draft for my future post.

I’ve been staring at a blank document in WordPad and unable to put together even a sentence. My memory while fresh from travels and experiences, do not seem to be fully captured by my vernacular. The words do not come out. I begin to doubt my abilities to even describe – in the smallest of ways – the true extent of insight and the caliber of their individual influence. True, I have been keeping notes and mementos of these events, but somehow the effort required to fully replicate them along with my emotions is a difficult task.
I step outside and start to smoke my cigarettes. It is late at night. I try to focus my thoughts towards one particular topic only to find them wandering astray. Gradually I become frustrated, smoking more and more, eventually resolving to put my thoughts at ease and go to bed. Sleep does not come easily these days. Whereas before, odd sleeping habits were to blame, now it seemed that the details of my memories are vivid enough to put even the most lucrative of dreams to shame.

For a moment, I think that I’m starting to lose it; at long last, perhaps driven insane by the sheer accumulation of stories, infinite in detail, unique in every imaginable way, the realization of possessing that responsibility – that singular purpose – has ironically achieved nothing but silence.

In the end, I began realizing that to speak merely of events by their contents would be sacrilege. Simply documenting each event and conversation, according to their station, would not fully captivate the true experience of such an adventure. True, people remain curious about the places and the people that I’ve since come across, yet it is truer at times we find ourselves in agreement, relating to these stories, that permit ourselves to better understand everything and everyone.

Being selective about my writing would be akin to keeping a secret, not that there is anything against that, but the discomfort of that is mind boggling; deep within, a voice that is too aware of what is true to myself, calls out to share the reality and emotions that were at one point produced from these places and events.

The silence soon paves way to a terrible sense of dread, leading first to doubt, then to a relentless shame; that every day that passes by, traveling through this brazen world, adds strength to that particular call.

I remind myself that the purpose of this journey were at some point clouded, but by that time in California, a greater purpose had replaced the once selfish need to get away; the voices, from each and every corner of the cities, were calling to be heard.

Sitting outside on the pavement against the curb of an empty street, I remind myself that one voice – one tiny voice – could inspire and instill others, that the efforts of my writings were meant for allowing everyone to simply be heard. In knowing this, from those earlier days, I become at ease and returned back to my room. From that small corner of the earth, in the depths of the Golden City, I reclined and watched the full moon at night for a while.

***

It begins like any other story.

A young woman walking home at night, returning from either a night spent in pleasant company or in heartbreak, alone in the evening. She’s wary of others because in the eyes of the beholder, her face is pleasant and her body is fair. Like any sensible young woman, she’s aware of the dangers that surrounds a young woman living in the big city. Suffice to say there is reason enough, despite her most secret fantasies, to bolt her doors at night.
It is like any other night. A long week of hard work or classes, the company of friends and loved ones, but the reality is that she lives alone. True, perhaps she has a paramour or two, however these things are irrelevant to the life of an independent woman. She’s guarded at this particular hour and her instincts are seasoned enough that at the first sign of trouble, there are a series of actions and reactions she would take for her safety – friends she could call, stores that are brightly lit at all times.

A car pulls up to her.

In some stories, the driver merely flirts and teases with her. She does her best, based on her mood and personality, to respond to them though she makes it clear she is not interested. In return, he becomes aggitated and taunts her, perhaps even shouting profanities at her as he leaves; other times, his friends join in and she becomes not only guarded but, deep within, alert and frightened.

Sometimes he follows her for more than a block.
Sometimes he gets out of the car.
Sometimes he pulls her inside.
Sometimes, just sometimes, he pulls out a gun.

***

“I’ve noticed something about your writing,” one male submissive says to me. “There’s quite a bit of fancy words and please don’t get me wrong, it shows how articulate you are.”

Thank you.

“However,” He adds as he turns around and leaves with his partner. “I imagine there’s more to it than words. You don’t seem like the type of guy that would just filter out things just to make things easier for anyone.”

What do you mean?

” The way you act and talk seems like a mask of its own. You have a gift for writing yet at the same time, there’s cynicism in your approach.” He smiles at me, politely. “Like someone who has seen or heard a bit too much.”

***

He had messaged her online and after a lengthy amount of conversation, despite the warnings of her friends, she had arranged to meet him. When it was he first appeared, there was a surface of charm, but had she known sooner rather than later, he would not have even managed to win her trust and favor.

She refused to admit that she did not find his appearance too attractive but over the course of their meetings, she became attracted to him by his personality. He seemed like someone who had experience in their mutual field of interests and when they first got together, his affections put all her fantasies to shame. In time she began to notice his flaws and it became apparent that he struggled with them.

Naturally she tried to help.

It only became clear when it was that he was not the tender loving man that she took him for that it was far too late. He had restrained her, gagged her, and perhaps out of that slim hope, even for what she thought was love, she said nothing. There was shame in the aftermath, mostly from within, but fueled by the stories of his loyal friends and the causality of the event, she resolved to silence.

It is not unknown, even within this community and lifestyle, there are those that pretend these things have happened. They conjure stories of abuse and mistrust, for the need of attention or some petty vendetta, gathering sympathy in earnest. Such awful human behavior, selfish to the core, produces cynicism and doubt when the truth emerges. People bicker about the price of outing someone, the necessity of protecting everyone from a predator, yet their hypocrisy lies in that they wish for proof or evidence.

She had, like he said, consented before the minute he laid hands on her.

Sometimes his issues were merely a facade.
Sometimes his pretty words were a blatant lie.
Sometimes, just sometimes, she never had a choice.
Sometimes, just like others, she just disappears.

***

I had, at least long before, had my share of fights. Most of them were instigated by others yet, driven by depression, there were times in which an adolescent rage prompted an altercaton. I would have boasted about them when younger but in the end, aware of that same look of fear, from the suddenness and extent of my fury, these things merely led to shame.

It was my second night at Sin City in Vancouver, BC. I was dressed in my titular suit and mask and lacked a cane back then. I had smoked a bit of dope, drank enough liquor to make the world spin slightly, and opted to walk to a cab stand. The weekends in the city were busy with people at the pubs and nightclubs. Experience had taught me that discretion was the better part of valor. That and with the number of my then ex-girlfriend written on my arm, I had left without telling anyone. These streets were known to me.

That is, of course, until a voice called out from behind me. “Nice mask, faggot.” the voice had said and I turned to meet a young man, East Indian, staring at me in the face. “What? What the fuck are you gonna do about it?”

I opened my mouth to reply. The words never came out. In an instant I was on the ground, reeling from the state I was in, all the while as he threw punches at me. One moment the world was clear, the next second I was blind and saw only blurred misshapen forms all around.

“Mike!” A girl screamed. I think his name was Mike. Or Patrick. Or Josh. “Mike! Stop it!”

A pair of hands grabbed me by the throat. The adrenaline kicked in and I reached out for his face, hoping to sink my fingers into his eyes. His punches were thrown poorly, moderate in strength; the chill of the winter snow all around touched my burning face, I strained to make out his features. In my other pocket, I felt around for my lighter, perhaps to burn the hand that choked me.

Another voice said, “Jesus Christ! Stop it, man, chill! Chill!”
Another voice said, “Let him go! Fuck, dude, leave it!”

I glanced and saw the seven shapes (seven, because that was fucking years ago, and I still remember every detail) and realized that if I touched him, gouged out his fucking eyes, I would be dead. He slammed another fist into my face and knocked me into the ground. Time to fake it, I thought, curling into a ball. He kicked my ribs then but, all that experience before, had seemingly disappeared.

“I’m going to cut your fucking throat.” A voice hissed beside my ear. “I’m going back to my car and I’m going to cap you. I’m gonna fucking kill you. You’re gonna fucking die.”

Somewhere, beneath the knot in my stomach, I felt the tinge to lose my bladder.
Somewhere, deep down beneath, a quiet voice that wasn’t mind began to beg.
Somewhere, struggling to remember, was a single voice that could upon many favors and make him disappear.

But somewhere, deep downside, I was and still am very much afraid.

***

When he was younger he had wanted to become an astronaut, but when his interest for boys was no mere phase, his parents turned him out the door and he’s been alone ever since. There was a time when he recovered from addiction and met a handsome man, their earliest days together were some of the happiest, but when after a vicious argument one night, that all came to an end.

They got together more than once afterwards. His ex was filled with guilt but eventually as time grew by they argued and fought again. It became all too clear that this was a cycle of fighting, reconcilliation, and if kept forever would render him mad with grief. By the end of their third year, he had packed his bags and left without saying goodbye.

He mourned at first then moved on, like any person with a broken heart, losing himself to drugs and alcohol and sex, all for the sake of some neurochemical inside his head that would stave off the pain. After he lost his job, not for his sexuality, he wandered the streets for a week and began to charge people for his services, mostly men, in the stalls of a public washroom and the backseats of cars.

They called a faggot when they pulled him out by his hair.

Sometimes they called him a nigger or a spic.
Sometimes, in other stories, he was a she and instead of a faggot she was a dyke.
Sometimes, watching as people walked by, they showed me the scars.

***

“Flip a coin,” the gambler who sat next to me said, at a Black Jack table in Las Vegas. “When its in the air, you’ll know which side you want it to land on.”

***

She spoke in third person when referring to herself.

It was part of the ‘rules’ of her relationship, voluntary, of course. They had been together for more than a few years and during that time period, there had been several major issues that arose. She was a jealous type of woman and while he was patient enough to explore with her, out of his fears there were times where he had nearly given to temptation.

There is a misconception about choices within this culture. People often conjure this fantastical image that submissives are akin to slaves, surrendering their right as a person, and are coerced into submission. It may not be true but like anything, given that fetish is never definitive, that may still be a possibility in some circles – the kind that even the most seasoned of regulars are quick to condemn.

“This one had been diagnosed with breast cancer. This girl recovered and has never left him ever since.” She said never breaking her tone. “She struggled with it, gave up, and resolved to stay in her bed. When Master called, she ignored him and he was angry and upset. He was angrier still when he saw her that day, barely having left her bed.”

“But every day he came back, after work, and every day he sat next to her and held her hand and told her to fight. He told her she was beautiful and that he would never give up on her. This girl ignored him and hated him for being so stubborn. He came back one night and said he may have found another and this girl screamed at him, tore at his collar, threw it back on his lap.”

“This man, my Master, who never once betrayed this girl, strong and wise, irrefutably handsome.” She turned to stick her tongue at him, prompting a proud grin. “This man looked at this one then, with tears in his eyes, and said: I command you not to die.”

***

The hostel was situated in a part of Mission and Folsom that had convenience stores with barred windows and neon lit signs for quarter peep shows. It was a place where by day and by night, the sound of people ranting and screaming to themselves are prevalent – a bad part of town, according to others.

In the days that followed, I would relocate to a household far from the Bay Area in San Francisco, couch surfing with a local kinkster. However, the first few nights were terrifying, what with the sound of fighting and screams and even once, the sight of dark stains along the sidewalk, washed away by street cleaners.

You make an observation to your surroundings and in doing so, become aware of the environment all around you. It seems likely that an observation would be made and watching, the people talking to themselves, were not unlike those that are struggling to find a voice.

I could not help but wonder in the smallest of ways if those that speak to themselves are truly lost to addiction or some unknown cause. Bag ladies that scream about the purple smoke sky and the fucking police pig shit dog fuckers, rapists, and other nonsense or half-truths perhaps at some point had the voice of reason.

Left alone, unheard, for too long and frankly I understand how easy it is to lose yourself to the sound of silence. It becomes suffocating and cry too late, too late, the voice becomes a mere whisper or an echo of itself. How quaint, that I, who should speak often, could say nothing to that awful noise within. I wonder perhaps that people who talk to themselves may be searching for answers and the only truth they possess for themselves is the one that frightens everyone the most.

***

When he came back one night into the club, she identified him right away and felt sick as he spoke to her friends. The charm had never changed since she left him.

However, she had been aware of his convictions during a police sting, and that he was charged guilty with evidence made his presence even less tolerated. The pulsing throb of the nightclub drowned out the laughter and voices save in people’s expressions but hers was a grim visage, enough that she shook with anger.

At first they did not believe her but accustomed to her honesty, there would be little doubt of her accusations, and as word began to circulate quietly I determined then a simple choice. The decision had become all too clear.

Excuse me, I said, Gregory held in one hand.

“Yes? What’s up?” He said, turning to regard me.

You don’t know me but I’ve heard a lot about you. People here have heard about what you did. I’m not anybody of importance and I’m just trying to do you a favor. You don’t want to get hurt do you?

He looked confused at me. “What are you talking about?”

You know exactly what I’m talking about. Let’s not get carried away. I’m going to be honest and frank wth you. People here want to hurt you but if you want to stay then that’s your call. I take no responsibility for what happens. For now, there’s a large number of people who don’t want you here.

“Whoa,” he said stepping closer. “What did I do?”

Don’t pretend. You were busted in that police sting. People want to hurt you for what you did. It’s your choice if you want to stay but people want to hurt you. I want to hurt you

Briefly I turned his attention to the bouncers of the club, who were known to me, and likewise who were also aware of his actions. They stood behind me and never broke their gaze from him, their expressions empty save for posture they took.

“Thanks, man,” He said and extended his hand. I glanced down at it, he drew back, then grabbed his friend from the dance floor. “Thanks man, I owe you one.”

Just fuck off, I replied and watched as he left forever.

***

“They were all ready to jump him the minute he walked in,” she told me, sitting at a family restaurant. “Hell, one of them produced a knife beneath his leathers. Everybody was ready to make him suffer a crippling accident.”

“Statistics show that three out of every five women experience some form of abuse, often rape, and sadly in this community or rather any other community, there will always be people out there who will hurt others.”

“From the minute they all stood up together, you should have seen how quickly he ran off.” She began to laugh, leaning on her friend nearby, who joined her smiling. “I knew right away that I had found a home. I knew right away these people were my family. I’ve never left them since.”

Weren’t there people who doubted what you claimed?

She showed me a thin scar on my thigh, pulling up her skirt. “You just wanted me to do that didn’t you?” She said, giggling up at me. I protested and she shook her head, “I was joking. Some of them were there when this was still fresh that same evening.” She saw my empty stare, reached out and placed her hand over mine, still smiling.

***

“Things do get better.” He said, eating the cheeseburger I bought from McDonald’s. “I’d kill for the guys that are here with me. Hell, you seem like a nice enough guy, let me know if you need anything.”

I brushed a sweat from my brow. The weather in Las Vegas was excruciating. Visible heat waves flickered along the traffic lanes along the Strip. A vendor nearby sold water by donation and a pair of Metro Cops biked down the concrete bridge, surrounded by tourists all around.

“Man, what you’re doing is fucking awesome. I envy you. Is that the right word? Envy?” He adds, winking. “You’re something else.”

I’m just a guy who likes walking around cities a lot and likes to hear himself talk.

He laughs, “If you ever come by Vegas, I’ll be here during the day and in the evening.” He reached up to fist bump me. His hands were dirty. I removed my glove and shook it instead. “Be safe out there, bro.”

***

Each person alive possesses a voice.

Even those who are born deaf or mute can have a voice. These voices are often silent but they’re still very much there. Given time, voices can inspire and influence, can unite and rally others, and similarly express and convey. The words of these voices are vast and infinite. They can speak many things but gradually there will be some kind of a truth to them.

You, that live, have a voice that is quiet against the many.

But a voice is all that you possess and all that you have against the silence that surrounds us. It is a powerful voice and a potent one. Do not forget – never ever forget – that your voice is always within. It will call and reach out to those that will truly listen and understand.

You have a voice and it must never be silent.

You have a voice and you will be heard

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