The Calm and the Quiet

at 11:43 PM

Shouts and laughter flow out of the kitchen, but the darkness from the end of the hall calls to me. My feet are tired from standing, and my mouth is tired from smiling. I make sure no one is looking when I escape down the hallway. I'm not positive that my absence will go unnoticed, but it does.

The door to my room is ajar. I spot a little yellow lab resting on top of the covers. When she hears me, her tail starts to thump rhythmically. She isn't mine; I'm just looking over her while her family is away, but I come towards her anyway, and she curls up at the front of the bed. I sit cross-legged at the foot. A guitar leaned up against the wall seems to stand out in the darkness.

While fastening the capo on the fourth fret, I hear more shouting and laughter erupt from the kitchen. I play the first chords of a song I haven't played in a while. There is something so gentle about the sound, so simple. It's not a sad song, but the words are melancholy. Rosie settles her head as I quietly start to sing. It's so nice to have a break from all the mayhem. The song does not sound very pretty, I can tell. It reminds me of songs that use their imperfection to blend themselves together. My favorite part of playing guitar is when you learn a new song, you focus so much you kind of forget about everything that seems to be bothering you. When I play songs I already know, my memory takes over, and my mind drifts.

Days now are so busy. Stopping to think is a luxury I'm glad I can find time for. I think of turning the lights on, but I like the calm and I like the quiet. As I slide my fingers to my favorite chord, G7, I remember back when we took a walk one Christmas after dark. My mind wanders as my hands transfer between chords I've played too many times.

I used to hate the darkness, but now it feels like such a simpler time. Under the pressures of life, I like to think that the light brings confusion, but the dark brings calm.

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With a Perspective, I'm Emily Sweet.

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Emily Sweet is an eighth grader at Kent Middle School in Kentfield.

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