The Sounds of Home

New Rochelle is known for a lot of things- its diversity, its history, its public school system- but the one thing that most don’t notice is the absolute silence it achieves once the sun goes down. Nighttime in New Rochelle has a certain stillness to it that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.

What I’m doing isn’t sneaking out. I’m not meeting any friends to finish half a bottle of vodka or meeting some boy my parents don’t approve of. I’m going for a walk. Don’t bother with shoes; I’m not going far. My eyes start to adjust and I look up at the stars that my dad used to give names to. I never could remember them- but he always did. From the south, the lights of the city illuminate the sky like a nocturnal sun. As I walk up Thomas Paine hill, the stars and false sun appear to crouch down behind the shifting tree line. Everything is quiet; even the crickets seem to whisper.

When I return home, I sneak back into the house, strip down to my usual sleeping attire, and crawl into bed. Everyone is asleep, except for my mom. She works harder and longer than anyone I know and makes next to nothing, but she does what she loves. She’s a singer, a bandleader, a musician, a businesswoman, and a mom, all at different times and all at once. While I was out wandering and enjoying the quiet, she was in her office, in the room above mine, rehearsing. Almost every night, she’s up there, singing whatever song she’s learning next.

Usually, I can’t stand listening to the same song over and over again, but with her, I could listen to the same song a thousand times. Tonight she’s learning “Eyelashes,” a cute up-tempo that a friend of hers wrote: “you and your eyelashes are causing car crashes all over this town… whenever you and those satin sashes are hanging around.” The sound of her voice disrupts the quiet of the town and seeps through the floor, into my room. I slowly fall to sleep as my mom’s voice swirls around the room- around my toes, my legs, my arms, my head. The cocoon of sound warms me, blocking out the chilled silence, and carries me into my subconscious.

-Marie Pruitt

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