Shhhh… (Photo credit: Adib Roy)

I have a new friend with whom I share this odd pleasure:  we enjoy being silent together.We met Saturday in the hush of the library.  Since then, we’ve taken a walk;  ordered a pizza.

But mostly what we’ve done together is listen.  We’ve listened to music:  not just as background beats.  We’ve let the music fill the space AS the soundtrack.  We’ve paid attention to the music, together.  More than hearing.


We’ve listened to small segments of the other’s lives, in whispers.  I know not why we whisper, but we often do.

The few times we’ve interrupted the other were downright jarring, and immediately followed with apologies.  Interrupting is not a natural part of the way we communicate.

I’ve been pondering how often in relationships of all kinds we say “can we talk?” or “I have to talk to you” or “we never talk anymore.”

So it’s new, and intriguing to have a friend with whom I am so comfortably quiet.

Seeking to characterize this unexpected element of this new friendship, I asked myself, “what is the opposite of talking?”

And I thought of the word, refrain.

Ironic since refrain also means a part of a song that is sung repeatedly.


Silence, of course, has a tone, too.  I’ve been in the presence of angry silence.  I remember reading in a book once “the silence fairly roared between them.”  And I thought, oh yeah…I know what that sounds like.

This silence is not that.  With us, the silence is soothing grace poured down that we might better hear the fullness of the other’s presence.

It’s memorable.

A refrain worth singing.