21

Charlene Hundred Day Diary 2 Comments

Day 21 of 100, Copenhagen, Denmark

The quiet. That’s always the first thing to hit whenever I land in in Copenhagen, from Singapore. The thick, enveloping quiet that leaves my ears ringing, a whiplash from where every potential aural break is hurriedly filled with some kind of noise: the daytime roar of the highway, vehicles grinding around the car park; the ceaseless screech of Korean soap operas that my mother is addicted to; our deaf old neighbour yelling down the phone – which rings like an ambulance siren so she can hear it – in Teochew, sending the dog yelping and scrabbling at the gate; the hammer and groan of never ending construction… And that’s just at home in our relatively quiet neighbourhood.

Here though, the velvety silence is so pervasive it forces itself between sounds, so that the roar of the trains through double glassed windows is as distinct an entity as the wipe of the squeegee sluicing water from the bathroom floor. The soft whimper of an upstairs neighbours’ puppy in the mornings for its parents, away at work, imperceptible to my ears, is grounds for a neighbourly fracas.

I wear the silence like a blanket, and it coaxes me into dead sleep.

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