The Sound of Settling

She felt him get into bed; the familiar weight, the shift of the mattress, the desire to roll into him and hold on forever.

“Just got an e-mail from Ana’s teacher. She’s in trouble again. Fucking nightmare.”

She heard the words, but her mind wandered. Rain on the skylight reminded her of their wedding. It came in sheets, pelting against the stained glass windows of the church. It carried her to their honeymoon where they’d slept in hammocks on the beach, sought cover beneath a palm frond during a storm, and finally gave into the torrents to make love in the wet sand.

The baby cried. Like a lightning bolt she was back in their bed. Her chest tightened, not wanting to let go.

“Arghhh… Christ! For one second of peace…” his frustration was palpable, occupying the air around him. Neither moved in hopes that the cries would subside. She could still feel the sand on her back, in her hair; see his perfect face in the glow of the moonlight; hear the waves crashing against the shore. Her love filled the space of his frustration.



“Say it.”

“Say what?”

“You know…”

“It’ll be okay. I love you,” he whispered.

But as soon as he said it she knew it didn’t matter. It was a game of Chinese Whispers by now—only in their game it was the meaning that altered while the words stayed the same. She sighed. After a while it all lost its meaning…

© 2008 Alix Purcell

The Sound of Settling

Alix Purcell

New York, United States

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Artist's Description

For Star Twister 17 Comp

Thanks to Death Cab for Cutie – I stole the title from one of their songs :)

Chinese Whispers – the telephone game – the sound of settling.



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