Muffled like Shouting Silence

The girl meets my eyes for the first time.  This is not Soraliyn; this is Eravyn.  Her eyes are brown.  She seems so young, even naïve.  Zink shoots me a look, worried and annoyed all at once.  Benson sits back to listen.  Even if he does not believe in me, he believes that it will all work out for the best.  

“Well, I have the Gift of Energy,” she begins.  A spark shoots through me, Zink was right.  I close my eyes, try to feel it, but there is nothing, not even the sense to feel. She goes on without me.

“It allows my sister and I to be very close.  My brother is a little too young, too boyish to care, but it lets me keep tabs on him.  He’s everywhere at once.”

She stops, and the smile she had been wearing softens and dims.  Her eyes drop once more.  She is almost embarrassed, but her cheeks remain white and clear.

“It is empty here.  Hollow.  Silent.  It’s like my voice is too loud in my own head.  I used to long for a quiet like this, where I could focus and find peace, but now that I am away I miss the bustle.  It’s unnerving.”   

I understand, in fragments.  Neither Zink nor Benson empathize; they both look to me, mildly bewildered as to what sort of emptiness she is talking about.  I shake my head at them.  Zink had her Earth Gift like most herbalists, and Benson had Air.  He is convinced that he had the weakest Gift of anyone who ever lived, which is why it barely affected him to lose it.  Once when we were together, I mused that it probably just bled into his personality so deeply that none was left over for him to use.  He laughed at that, then called himself a free spirit.  We both grinned at that. 

He has more nerve than Zink, or less fear of looking ignorant, because he is the one who speaks up.

“What do you mean about the silence?  I know the idea, but not the mechanics of the Energy Gift.”

His eyes meet mine.  Have I really gone all this time without sharing this part of myself with him?  I am ashamed to find that I would believe it.  I cannot keep his eyes for long. 

“The Gift of Energy is- it’s the meeting place of Gifts.  The only energy we can feel is the Gifts of other people, but it’s a comfort.  We can give away our Gift energy to others; we can be suppliers and helpers and necessary.  That’s what I feel for it, is that it gives me a connection with other people.  I sense the bustle around me as my family and friends.  I’m sorry,” she says, suddenly embarrassed, “I’m rambling.  You asked about the silence.”  Her cheeks are flushed now.  “You don’t have Gifts, so I can’t feel you.  It makes it more difficult to understand you.  This whole place is like that, muffled, no, muted.”

At first, I allow nothing but her words to reach me.  They come almost as mine, my rougher thoughts.  Don’t stop speaking.  I am surprised to find that I am almost happy to hear someone talk about Gifts as if they are easy, everyday parts of life. Her voice has stopped, though, descriptions gone.

Benson nods, murmurs his thanks, and I see Zink’s face wash over with understanding, too.  Everything around me seems warmer, suddenly, and I hope that they two will not look over at me with new conjectures in their eyes.  I am not a case to be studied.  I imagine Ben questioning me about my frayed connections to people, Zink, out of worry, addressing me as if I were a child.  I dig my fingers into the long carpet, twisting the cords around.  It is certainly time to leave.  I get up from the floor quickly now, not asking anyone’s permission to go.  Benson takes a moment to resign himself to the facts, but follows my lead.  I thank Zink for having us, and give a small smile to Eravyn for telling us her thoughts.  

The End

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