Dean Marshall Tuck

Brenda sits in a room full of people who have simultaneously forgotten what it was they wanted to say. Her thoughts race; what words can fill this silence? A fork clinks against a dinner plate; ice settles in a glass. People shift in their seats: clothes rustle -- a wool, rayon, polyester, leather, denim, taffeta, cotton chorus as men reach for their jacket pockets, wipe their hands across their thighs, and women straighten their skirts, reach for their linen napkins, lean for an angle to reveal their purses -- a crescendo, restlessness spreading like yawns and clearing throats, as more and more gaze across the table at the person staring back, and Brenda longs to speak, but the noise is an ocean; her slowly sinking words are holding their breath, their last gulp of air, swallowed and falling somewhere below their lungs, while all together now, the room full of people grows louder and louder without speaking, and their chairs are creaking, and their teeth are grinding, and their knees are bouncing, and their knuckles are popping, and the clothes chorus is rising, whooshing like lovers running through midnight grasses of a windblown plain where Brenda is lost somewhere with the moon, the blue darkness, the wind, the grin, the wink, the flourish, the wings, and wishing for someone to reach for her hand now, wishing for someone to pull her ear to their lips -- she sighs. And the conversation tide drifts back to sea, leaving her with the memory of incessant crashing and a new, renaissance silence.