“The Silence…” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by C.K. Dhanyatha Praveen, JSS International School, Dubai, UAE.
We had been together for one year, but a single day was all it took for our group to fall apart. Our last dance, and the last time we saw each other the same ever again.
It was the final round in THE STARLIGHT UNIVERSITY OF DANCE. The students were busy preparing for the “Winter Vacation Competition” that was held during mid-terms.
“Does everyone understand the main points of this year’s challenge? If not, I shall repeat it one last and final time. Number one is the students should be in a team of either four or six. No inappropriate dances shall be showcased when you are on stage. There could be a duet; however, jazz or hip-hop is preferred. Students should be…” “THIS IS BORING!” interrupted Darren, the best dancer in the whole campus, obviously startling the class and instructor. "Mr. Darren, please respect the school rules and proceed back to your seat" Our teacher, Mr. Brown ordered him with a strict glare. "You know very well Mr. Brown that I don't attend classes that are boring or repetitive" continued Darren. He was a student with straight A's and it was not unusual of him to skip classes and yet go unminded by some of the teachers. But Mr. Brown took him to task for the reason that Darren always failed in his subject.
"Would you respect rules for once Darren-?" Emily, the class president rolled her eyes and glared at Darren. "You are wasting my precious time and our class as well, please take your seat. As your close friend, I'd not like to report you to the principal." She sat down right after. Darren let out an irritated sigh and eventually took his seat. "Please go on Mr. Brown" a soft yet audible voice was heard. It was Miss Jessica, and thus the class resumed.
"Jess, have you seen Krystal anywhere? She hasn't been seen since morning." Emily said putting her arm around Jessica's shoulder. . "That girl is never around for the first class!" "Nor is she until the sixth class, she usually comes when the day's over." Darren added as he walked alongside the two girls. "Yea…." Their thoughts were flicked away by a tiny pat on Emily's shoulder. Darren looked back only to be greeted with a bonk on his head. "OW!!..Oh?! Krystal? U-uh..hey there."
Darren rubbed his head and smiled sheepishly at Krystal who had her usual unamused face. "Did you have fun skipping class today Krystal?" Emily looked at her with a smile. Krystal nodded and smiled, pointing to the clock. "It's time already?!?" Jessica practically whisper-yelled, her voice was small and soft anyway. "Yea, come on guys… let's go! Let's rock this class!" The group smiled and walked past the hallway with clear laughter. "One, Two, Three..FIGHTING!!" They cheered, but only Krystal who simply raised her arm up in the air.
They say actions speak more than words. Krystal is sure lucky to find friends considering her only drawback being mute. "Krystal? Play the piano like you always do okay?!" Darren smiled and gave her a hug as a sign of motivation. She hugged back and put on a thumbs-up as a “Yes! Let's do our best!”
"AND NOW...THE BEST STUDENTS!! PLEASE WELCOME FOR THE AUDITIONS!! A TEAM WITH OUR FOLLOWING STARS! Darren!, Jessica!, Jordan!, Emily and the most beautiful pianist, Krystal!!!"
The others looked at Krystal and gave her a reassuring smile. "MUSIC START!" The most hyper one from the group, Jordan shouted and Krystal almost immediately pressed the keys for the concert to begin, which never really did happen but instead the hall stayed quiet for about two minutes and finally when she started playing the song, none of the dancers moved. "Why…?" Darren gave Jessica a questioning look to which he received a worried expression from the rest. Krystal was playing the wrong song, her beats were all out of tune and she seemed confused as if she couldn't hear anything. "Krystal!! Stop the music!! It's wrong...!!" yelled Emily, only to hear the piano noises louder. "S-someone stop her!! She's out of it!!" Amber, one of their group mates called out pointing to Krystal.
Jessica caught on to the situation and covered her ears, kneeling down. The music was deafening, and Krystal did not pay heed to the voices of her friends.
"KRYSTAL! STOP IT!" Jordan ran to her and pulled her hands away from the piano. "E-excuse us…" Emily said, bowing sixty degrees and walking down the stage, the others following close behind. "Come on, We need to talk about this. Are you not feeling well?" Jordan gestured to Krystal who had a petrified look on her face as if she didn't know what went wrong. “Krystal is mute! But then why would she act deaf?!” Jordan thought and brought Krystal to the group.
Emily had a troubled expression on her face. "Okay...first we need to calm down and settle before we get answers" Her burning gaze was directed towards Jessica who looked back but kept quiet.
The group was silent for about a minute before Jessica broke the silence. "Krystal...what happened back there?" she asked, Krystal looked down in embarrassment. "Ugh…this isn't getting us anywhere--what the…?!"
The only object that made all secrets come to an end was the chain that Krystal dropped on the cold hard floor. She didn't react, nor did Jessica. "Y-you guys…" Jordan pointed to both Jessica and Krystal "…are you deaf?" Emily was disturbed by the fact they didn’t tell her and stood up, clutching their shoulders. "WHY WOULD YOU LIE TO US?! TELL ME JESS! TELL ME KRYSTAL!!"
Jessica flinched a bit at the sudden raise of voice, but she looked down not in sadness but pure anger. “Just because we’re deaf doesn’t mean I can’t understand feelings Emily…” She then looked at Krystal, nodding for her to voice out.
For the first time, Krystal opened her mouth as if to say "If only I could hear your words…I'm sorry. I'm deaf...but not a person without feelings..." she hung her head low and looked at Jessica who stood away from the rest. "Sorry-“
“WE NEED ANSWERS!” The group glared at them but they were silent when they witnessed that both of them use their hands to convey a message.
“This Silence between Us was sure to come, it did and now nothing's left. This is life, this is us….I was right after all, you’d never accept us. Goodbye.'
Jessica gestured to the object and walked out swiftly without looking back at the shocked faces of her “old” friends. Krystal shook her head before she took the broken chain, which symbolized the broken friendship and the painful truth leading to the hurtful end.