My mother used to say that the noise of our house was peace to her.
And, when we’d all moved out of home, and it was just her and my dad at home, they used to busy themselves with a noise. Or they’d wallow in this weird silence that felt just like the ten seconds after a houseparty, when the last person’s left, the music’s turned off and you need to wash the dishes.
I think I understand her now.
You see, I live in this crazy noisy house, where there’s always someone talking, someone in the kitchen clattering around (usually me), something playing on the telly and someone, someone is *always* creating something, somewhere.
Whether it’s a drawing or a sandwich. Or someone’s staring at a screen to accomplish a challenge or finish up a detail.
It’s funny. We used to know, despite the noise, when my mum was walking down the passageway, because her knee had a distinctive click that was borne from years of ballet dancing. I’ve had problems with my knees for years, but thanks to a course of collagen supplements, I’ve not had issues for a while. I try and remember to keep at it with the collagen supplements when I need to but, sometimes I forget. Whenever my knee aches though, I think of my mum and wonder if maybe we’re all just genetically destined to have bad knees, because I sure as hell didn’t dance for years. I’ve always been grateful though, that my knees don’t click, they just ache when I’ve strained them.
My siblings and I used to have this regular noise competition – where we’d all play “our” music in our rooms, so as my parents walked down the passage, past our rooms and towards the kitchen, they’d be greeted by this cacophony of noise. And my mother would laugh and then yell at us to turn our respective music choices down a little.
Just before my mum moved out of our family home, a few years after my dad died, she walked down the passageway and heard her knee click. She told me, the evening I went to see her just before she moved, that the noise being gone from the house is why she wants to go. She said all she can hear is her knee when she walks down the passageway.
I’m alone in my house today. There’s nobody making a noise, there’s no little hum of voices, or the clattering of keys. There’s nobody asking a question, or flicking through channels.
No machines are running (except, obviously, this one that I’m typing on), so the sound of my typing fills my ears.
I got up to pop downstairs and get some apple juice just now.
And as I
Walked down the stairs.
My knee clicks.