You are on page 1of 9

Silent Conversations

Daisy King watched as the Goodwill truck turned the corner and disappeared with the last
few boxes of Dylan’s baby items. Standing on the doorstep with a hand over her eyes to shield
from the setting sun and a baby scrapbook in her arm, she noticed her husband’s car pass the
Goodwill truck and slowly slink into the driveway.
Briefcase in one hand, Desmond stepped out of the car, planted a gentle kiss on Daisy’s
lips and wrapped his other arm around her shoulders. Together, they walked up the steps and
into the house and the sun wrapped itself in a blanket of trees far off in the horizon.
In the kitchen, Daisy and Desmond were silent all for the usual exchanges that pierce dinner
conversations and formal gatherings.
“So, how was work?”
“Oh, you know, same shit, different day.”
Desmond looked at his wife between sorting cans of beans and other camping items
Daisy picked up earlier in the day for their trip. Emotions had no hiding place on her face. Long,
sleepless nights were drawn dark under her sad almond eyes. Fragile lines like delicate fractures
on porcelain lined her face. Now washing dishes at the sink, her long black mane of wavy hair
draped over her shoulder, Daisy stopped and looked at her reflection in the glass of the window.
She was entering these states of daydream more and more. She was a writer and tended to drift.
She would come back from her daydreams and madly scribble things on various notepads she
kept in her pockets. Things were different with her daydreams now. They were deeper and
reached a sadness that was hard to pull her back from. These were places Desmond could not go.
“Daisy?” He asked.

Lao 2

Dishes shifted under her still hands from the water and the sound of porcelain shook her
awake. “What’s wrong, hon?”
“Nothing,” Desmond said. “You were just in a daze again. I didn’t want your hands to get
all pruney.”
Daisy smiled at her husband and dried her hands on her “World’s Best Mommy” apron he
had given her on her first and only Mother’s Day. She had forgotten to add it to the Goodwill
boxes and decided it still had a function. She just wore it in reverse.
“You know when I went shopping today I bumped into Mrs. Walton at the grocery store.
She told me it’s been a year and I’m still a young woman with plenty of time to have another
baby,” Daisy said.
“What an insensitive bitch!”
“That’s exactly what I told her. I guess she was pretty offended and walked off before
giving me her usual gossip.”
“Oh, that’s too bad.”
They both looked at each other and laughed and for a moment Daisy’s eyes filled with a
recognizable warmth of shared thoughts, memories, and familiarities only soul mates understand.
Like many married couples, they created and shared a language developed in the 10 years they
had been together. However, they shared a deeper thread of this connection many find but so
few ever keep. They had one secret both shared: a gift. They never had to say a word out loud. A
touch translated all emotions vividly and accurately. Thoughts moved between them gracefully
like pictures in an endless slide show. Making love was a delicate and silent conversation; a
conversation with no shadows, clear, honest, and beautiful. They entered this state of

Lao 3

communication casually and sometimes mixed their silent discussions with spoken conversation
which would have sounded like a fractured exchange to anyone besides them. The only things
they didn’t share were the things Daisy kept private in her writings and her thoughts when she
daydreamed. Desmond could not enter those places and would never invade her privacy even if
he could. Dylan’s squeals and cries had been the only thing that broke the deafening silence that
occasionally drowned the house. In Dylan’s presence, Mozart, Pink Floyd, movie soundtracks,
and fairy tales had a constant rotation in their CD player. Baby toys littered the living room floor
like grown-up obstacle courses. The occasional “Shit,” that eventually morphed into “Poop” or
“Darn,” was heard from a barefoot Daisy or Desmond. Sounds of musical winding playthings,
squeaky toys, and rattles filled the home with warm noise. During this time Daisy and Desmond
had more conversations out loud and once tried to silently converse with Dylan, but only found
chaotic images and colors that had no concrete form yet, like a Picasso. He was almost a year
and was too young for silent conversations, so they read and discussed things out loud in their
effort to teach him language and help him understand the world was not silent but full of brilliant
sounds.
A few rays of orange sun escaped between the trees and lit up the kitchen before sinking
completely into the incoming void of night. Daisy and Desmond continued to laugh. Daisy’s
laughter was honest and came deep from her belly. Their baby inherited her infectious laugh and
for a moment Daisy and Desmond both realized this. Her laughter became frighteningly
profound sobs. Desmond was hit with the sudden force of her sorrow which seemed to have no
end. She felt him try to enter her mind and sooth her, but she knew there was a wall of grief he

Lao 4

could not break and images of Dylan, stars, and sunsets. All pieces of a puzzle neither knew how
to solve, even if they had an answer.
“Honey, I miss him too. Sometimes I sit at my desk at work and just stare out my window
for hours. I see him crawling around and sticking everything he finds in his mouth. I realize how
little and gentle he was and I just want to hold him in my arms again and protect him from
everything.”
Daisy’s eyes glistened with tears and they looked up at her husband; they pleaded with him.
“Do you…remember?”
“No, I don’t.”
Daisy quietly turned away from her husband and continued putting the dishes away,
sorting cans, and getting ready for their camping trip. It was a long drive to the forests of
Wading, Virginia and there was still so much work to do.
They arrived early in the morning and checked in with the park ranger before doing a
final inspection of their hiking backpacks and setting off through the curtain of trees. They each
had a map just in case they were separated and they had planned their trail before leaving.
“I’m glad we’re doing this,” Daisy said. “Sometimes I feel like there is a weight on my
chest sinking me down and I’ll never breathe again.”
“I know,” Desmond said. I feel the same way. I hate that I don’t know the answers now
that I’m finally able to even ask the questions after a year. I’m as lost as the day he…” Desmond
let the word hang in the air and finished it in his mind.
Daisy nodded her head and listened to the sound of their boots crushing leaves, sticks,
and sinking into the gravel and dirt trail. She followed close behind her husband and watched the

Lao 5

back of his head and the movements of his neatly cut brown hair. She wanted to run her hands
through his hair and tell him everything would be alright, she just didn’t know if that was exactly
true. Desmond turned his head with a smile and reached for Daisy’s hand.
“Babe, everything WILL be alright. We’ll find the answers together.”
The morning light weaved together a mosaic of leaves and branches in the canopy above
them. A small barred owl ruffled its feathers in the crook of a tree branch and small pieces of tree
bark drifted to the ground. They were making good progress to the site they had planned to camp
at for the night. Reaching a clearing of thick tall grass they stopped to drink from their canteens
and watch the clouds set sail in the blue sky. Looking over the vastness in front of them Daisy
drifted back to Dylan and Desmond followed.
Dylan was born naturally and without many complications. He had his mother’s big deep
brown eyes and a full head of black hair and his father’s lips. By all accounts he was a beautiful
baby. The nurses cast adoring glances when Daisy or Desmond cradled Dylan in their arms. He
was such a quiet baby the first few months he was home that they would rush to his cradle
whether they needed to or not. They would find him looking up at the world that was still so
blurry and undefined. Sometimes he would turn his small bobbing head toward them and they
swore he could see right through them. Daisy began to think about the last thing Dylan was
wearing.
“Sky blue PJ’s with the little wishing stars on the elbows,” Desmond answered.
“And a moon reflecting over a little lake down the front, right?”
Desmond nodded his head. Daisy smiled and turned away from Desmond to watch the golden
tall grass move side to side in the breeze.

Lao 6

They were already three miles into the woods and not far from their camping site when
the feeling began. Desmond felt it too and looked around the clearing and into the path ahead.
The upcoming path bent into the darkened woods, and a deer darted out of the darkness and into
the tall grass. Desmond and Daisy glanced at each other’s anxious faces and laughed, but deep
down both knew the deer was not the real source of their ominous feeling, which still remained.
Engaged in a delicate dance, the tall grass around them shifted and swayed in the wind as if they
were being guided through the darkened trail. Behind them something moved through the grass,
watched, and waited.
With full bellies, they zipped up every opening of their Coleman tent and now laid side to
side in separate sleeping bags. They had decided not to zip their sleeping bags together because
of the heat that would create and mostly as an oversight. Their minds returned back to the
shifting tall grass and the thing in the woods following them.
“It’s nothing,” Desmond said.
“What if it’s a bear or something worse?”
“Hon, what can be worse than a bear?”
“Big Foot for one or finding out “Big Foot” is actually a dirty psycho living in the
woods.”
Daisy’s observation didn’t come out particularly funny, but the imagery in her mind of a
scruffy, hairy man chasing people around the woods filled the tent with their laughter.
The persistent drone of katydids and crickets lulled them to sleep. Outside the thing drew
closer and slipped into the lake a few feet from their tent. Daisy’s eyes fluttered open fighting
sleep and she looked up at the roof of their tent.

Lao 7

“Do you remember?”
Desmond gently rustled under his sleeping bag with his back toward Daisy.
Again, she asked half-awake fighting to keep her eyes open.
“Do you remember?”
Desmond turned to face Daisy who was looking up toward the tent with her eyes partly closed.
“You know I don’t. Hon, go back to sleep.”
Daisy now lost her fight with sleep and Desmond watched her closed eyes dart back and
forth as she dreamed. The moon wrapped the tent in a gossamer vail of vibrant light. He listened
to the orchestra of sounds around them and waited for sleep to overtake him again. The raccoons
chattered amongst each other fighting for morsels of left over beans and hot dog buns. He heard
the odd warbles of varies frogs mixed with the occasional crack of dried leaves and branches
under small feet. The flapping of wings moving through the trees was the last sound Desmond
heard before he fell back into sleep.
A few moments later, the thing lingered under the surface of the lake as a small frog
hopped onto a nearby lily pad. With a loud splash its smiling jaws overtook the frog and dragged
it into the sandy lake floor. It resurfaced and moved through the water toward the tent creating
eddies in the water that disturbed various creatures resting in the lake grass and on the lily pads.
Daisy awoke with the urge to pee and for a moment she again looked at the roof of their tent.
She entered a daydream and saw that day she had tried so hard to forget. She watched little
Dylan in his blue PJ’s with stars smile back at her and finally drift to sleep in her arms. He was
exhausted from his bath and she laid him down on their bed with a gentle kiss on his cheek. He
smelled like vanilla milk and baby powder and for a moment her nose lingered in the folds of his

Lao 8

neck. He was clean and asleep and she laid down beside him and waited for Desmond to return
from work and drifted to sleep. Scenes played out like a movie in her mind. She watched herself
in bed and heard the phone. She did not stir awake and Desmond left a message saying he would
be late from work. Daisy felt the weight of sadness pulling at her heart again dragging her toward
the ground and she wept for all the pain and loss she wished she could change. She watched
Desmond enter the darkened room hours later and remove his clothes. He kissed her gently not
wanting to wake her and peeked into the crib at the bundle of clothes and blankets he mistakenly
thought was Dylan.
“Good night, little one. I love you,” he said.
He slid into bed and under the blankets and faced away from his wife and Dylan between
them. Daisy watched as her body tossed and turned in bed from a restless sleep. It was a hot
night and in a deep sleep she threw the covers away from her and they bundled in the center of
the bed. Desmond awoke to piercing cries as Daisy held Dylan to her chest, his lifeless arms and
legs dangling away from her.
“Oh my God! What happened?”
“I don’t know! Do you remember? I woke up and he was wrapped in the blankets. Jesus,
Desmond…he’s so blue.”
In shock, Desmond realized Dylan had been between them the whole night. He ran for
the phone and dialed 911. Daisy watched the scenes play out at full speed: failed CPR, the
ambulance, the hospital, the doctor shaking his head, Daisy collapsing, the police reports, the
autopsy conclusion of SIDS, and the look of resentment and anger that passed between Daisy and
Desmond neither knowing who to blame. For almost a year there were no silent conversations

Lao 9

until one day Desmond thought of their overwhelming love and imagined Daisy standing in front
of a sunset with the rays of the sun dripping over her bare shoulders like an elaborate shawl. He
whispered a million apologies in his mind.
“I’m sorry too,” Daisy said.
They held each other and no questions passed between them. That night they made love and their
silent conversations returned.
Daisy saw all this and did not leave her daze. She unzipped the tent and stepped out
barefoot. She bent down and looked back at Desmond and thought of the warmth they shared and
how much she loved him. For a moment, she waited for him to stir but he did not. Stepping out
of the tent and into the night, she watched the glistening stars and moonlight cascading over the
trees and lake. Across the lake something blue weaved between the far off trees and Dylan
crawled out from the tall grass in his PJ’s. Daisy smiled as she felt Dylan’s warmth all around
her. Under the lake, eyes beckoned and smiled back and slowly slithered towards her.
Desmond awoke sweaty from the tent heated by the morning sun. He turned to face
Daisy who was not there. In his mind, he called for his wife, but she did not answer. The smell
of vanilla milk and baby powder embraced him.

By Daniela Lao

Related Interests