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A Piece of My Mind
June 6, 2007

The Sounds of Silence

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(21):2329-2330. doi:10.1001/jama.297.21.2329

From beneath the kitchen table, I see its four stout posts squaring off jaunty chair legs like a picket fence enclosing me in a snug fort. There are several pairs of feet. I see my mother's red shoes. Ah, there is her voice. The underside of the table is gray-black, just a shade past a dusky sky, and chrome hugs the under-edge, like a perfect bead of caulk around the rim. Shadows gather in the kitchen. It must be late afternoon, after naps. I feel hidden and secure.

This is my earliest childhood memory, cozy, familiar, and coupled with sounds I can still hear if I concentrate. This is a memory of light contrasting with darkness, and household sounds were accepted without thought. The television. Street noises. Squabbling siblings.