Quiet Again

writing inspired by the 2014 student protests in Venezuela

The streets are quiet again. Couples go to the movies again and no burning tires block their way. 

The streets are quiet again. Those who are left go to work and after to the gym, where the people who are left worry again about this bit or that bit that hangs where it shouldn't. The lines are long at the clubs, but not as long as they used to be. The schools are open again, and those who are left go to school and do homework. 

The streets are quiet again, and the lines at the supermarket are long, longer than the lines at the clubs. Grandmothers try and sweet talk grocery store managers into getting a can or two of condensed milk, and treasures like these are passed along quietly, in brown paper bags to avoid a mob. Mobs, the mob, the phenomenon of people gathering and neglecting reason, is common here, but now the streets are quiet again. 

The streets are quiet again, but are they loud instead? Loud with cars, instead, that honk and queue. Loud with movies and music and alcohol and whores, loud with people drowning out those who are not here. Loud with couples yelling and dancing to overcome absence. The silence of those who are not here. Gunshots are loud, but only in the faint distance, in a reality that will never arrive until it does. Come closer; in the club, people's voices go hoarse, their ears pop. It's so loud no one can hear.

But the streets are quiet again, the newspapers say so. And so they are. Quiet too, are the journalists now. 

The streets are quiet again. Before, they were loud with anger and desperation that only bullets silenced. The students are quiet again.

My street is quiet again. There were hundreds of soldiers that marched to take students away from their homes, but now it is loud with cars that go back and forth, to work, from work. 

My house is quiet. Many houses are. It is the country of orphaned parents who count this loss as a blessing. How fortunate they are, to have exported their children and grandchildren away. If we hadn't left, would we have been loud too? Loud and desperate? Loud and Stupid? Loud, because it kills to live in silence? Parents are happy to quiet these questions, dissolve them in coffee. Had their children been loud and on the streets, their houses might live in different silences.