Absence is a strange phenomenon.
Noticeable absence – like the sudden rush of silence that fills your ears when a room full of people stop talking all at once.
We’ve been sitting in the anechoic chamber for fifteen minutes, staring at each other.
She speaks, three feet from me, but her words sound faint, a bad recording playing in the distance. Her words falling flat at my feet.
I try to listen to the directions, the purpose of this experiment, but my ears are beginning to ring.
I become aware of how loud my breathing is and wonder if I’m having a panic attack. But, my breath is steady, deep.
She smiles and closes her eyes. She may be humming.
Minutes pass by and it sounds like my thoughts are shouting at me, the volume turned far beyond ten.
I watch her – she’s not moving, breathing slowly in through her nose and out through her mouth, eyes still closed.
I lean forward, trying to catch the rhythm of her breathing, hoping to mimic her peace.
A sound began to fill my head, echoing deep within my body. The sound of honey slowly falling from a spoon.
Honey became lava in the sea, burning and churning, making my head spin and feel heavy. My hands and feet began to tingle. I struggled to keep my eyes closed.
Four minutes and thirty-three seconds later, a tap on my shoulder, someone helps me to my feet.
The door to the chamber opens, someone coughs, the sound of a universe giving birth.