Decipher the beating of my heart

By Diana Batides

When my mother asked me how I can stand all the noise that comes with living in the city, I said simply,
“I prefer noise.”

Her expression was akin to a young child’s after being scolded for eating the last biscuit.
“Noise?” she said. “How can you prefer noise when silence is so calming?”

I smiled (it was a patient little thing), and explained,

“I prefer noise.
I prefer thunderous, ear-shattering music and
bafflingly loud drum solos and
deafening guitar shredding

over the tick-tock of the second hand in a quiet room.

I prefer the discordant chorus of canned laughter on the television and
a taxi driver’s horn blaring outside my window as some asshole cuts him off and
the shrill, outraged yells of the school children across the street

over the low chirping of birds in a tranquil garden.

Yes, mother; I prefer the explosion of speech and music and life
over the quietude of polite air.

Because while the silence of still life can bring my wildly beating heart
to a whopping sixty beats-per-minute,

the boisterousness of city life can raise it until I fear I am tachycardic
and lower it until I am almost convinced it has taken a long-earned rest;
it can take my heart from that sixty beats-per-minute to one-hundred-seventy-four and back again
until it matches the rapid pulse of the city.”

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