The silence only comes with the darkness and that dark silence is where my fears find their voice

They tell me, over and over, things I don't want to hear and that I'm almost certain aren't true.

They tell me that my daughter isn't working hard enough at school, that she doesn't stand a chance of passing her exams, that she is doomed to spend her life flipping burgers or filing. They grow louder, and tell me she has fallen in with the wrong crowd, is going off the rails, becoming delinquent. They say she is unhappy. And they tell me emphatically that it's all my fault because I'm a bad mother.

They tell me that my husband knows all my secrets, and that he is just looking for the right words to confront me, and then he'll leave me. They say he'd never forgive me, and if I think he could, I'm fooling myself. They tell me that my mother-in-law is right -- that I'm too fat, too stubborn, not a good enough housekeeper, that I ought to find a job, any job, rather than struggling on trying to make my business work, if I want to make him happy. They say he doesn't need me, that he'd be better off with someone else -- someone younger, prettier, better.

They tell me that my lover lies. That he neither wants me or loves me, and that he swears he does for some strange reason of his own, that maybe he's just waiting for the perfect moment to tell me it was all a lie and so destroy me, utterly.

They tell me, often, that I am nothing. That if I disappeared, I'd barely be missed, let alone regretted.

So, I stay awake, in the light, and surround myself with noise until I'm exhausted, because I don't want to listen to the silence.