Tasting of cinnamon rather than the usual hint of maple syrup and combustible engine exhaust, the air changed. The difference was infinitesimal and most did not notice. Those that did made brief eye contact with each other to reassure they were not going mad.
Certain television channels refused to slip their broadcast through distribution lines. Distorted images and garbled audio filled flat screens and expensive surround sound systems. Too many calls were placed to the cable company for the support staff to handle. Within twenty minutes of the first complaint, the manager switched on the automated response system. The message box filled and callers were left unattended.
Web servers slowed to a crawl. Business transactions failed. Banks shuddered their doors and ATM machines spit out their last twenty dollar bill before lunch time.
Traffic lights blinked flirting mustard glow to intersections void of both street and sidewalk traffic. The only perceptible movements were shadows reaching fingerly along the ground. Evening slowly commandeered every inch of space from the sun.
A tricycle sat abandoned behind a dull beige minivan. Tassels sad and low waiting for their absent playmate. The tennis ball, frayed furry coating smothered in dried dog drool next to the larger front wheel remained unthrown and unfetched.
Stoic trees restrained battlements against early spring bluster. Leaves clung nervously to their branches worrying about the torrent of wind sure to come. Flowers petals closed praying for the sound of children playing when tomorrow came.
Silence filled every nook and cranny of the world. It’s syrupy thickness seethed between cracks in tree bark, brick dimples, tire tread and graveled concrete path. Clouds held place in the cerulean overhead hesitantly waiting to see if the sky’s breath would return.
The old riddle about trees that fall in empty woods making no sound if no one is around to hear… what happens when there is no one in the entire world? Would silence evolve? Is quiet alive? Does it breathe? Can it feel?
There is conclusive proof that the universe makes sound. NASA even posted recordings on the internet. The planets sing and stars harmonize. Without animals or people to scream and sing, would it make any difference?
The buildings and highways and parks and playgrounds and lawns and schools and port-o-potties and jetliners and cruise ships and concert halls and sports arenas and prison cells and operating rooms and libraries and factories and bedrooms and bridges and movie theaters and daydreams and nightmares are all on hold. No busy signal. No whine of rubber on road. No.
Empty is full.
Empty is full of forever.