The Friendship of Silence
Project: C4— How to Say It
Claire Liu, 2013.12.20
This is a speech about friendship. About a friendship of silence. About a friendship of silence that taught me, what it means to say, you are my best friend. This is not a speech to define what friendship is. Instead, it is my personal sharing as how I grew to realize the essence of it.
I had a best friend during elementary school. Her name is Alice. She was the most beautiful girl in class, with delicate face, bright eyes, and dark-black long hair. Her figure was rather small, much shorter than me at that time, and she liked to wear dresses with flowers and laces. Yes, just like the image of a princess.
Alice and I became best friend right away when we got into the same class in the second grade, at the age of eight. Just like any other best friends, we shared our everyday lives, doing our homework, holding birthday parties, and exchanging the latest gossip as who liked whom in the class. There was only one thing that might seem unusual: the one-side silence.
Yes, the silence. The silence from Alice. Due to a trauma in the past, she became afraid to talk. She had a voice, she could talk, but she was afraid to. Therefore, from the time we became best friend in the second grade, till she moved to Canada in the sixth grade, I never heard her voice.
So, it was always me being the talking one, but the conversation was not only one-sided. We invented our unique ways to communicate. For example, hand gestures. When she did this (wave hands), I would know she meant ‘’oh my, this is so boring.’’ And when she secretly grabbed my cloth, I would realize she wished to go somewhere else.
Aside from the gestures to communicate, Alice herself was indeed a very great listener. She always listened to others with the fullest attention, and responded with the according motion or expression. In the years with her, I also learned how to listen, but not to the sound. Instead, it was how to listen when there was no sound. As time went by, and we knew each other deeper and deeper, sometimes I would know how she felt way before she did anything, as long as I listened.
Still, I was eager to hear her voice. There were times I even dreamed of her finally talking to me. In the dream, the various kinds of voice surrounded me and I was anxious. They were so unrealistic, after all, it was just my imagination. I didn’t know which one was her voice. I didn’t know how her real voice sounds like.
I wondered how I could help. However, I felt small. I was just a little child. If her parents couldn’t, her teachers couldn’t, how could it be possible that I would be able to do it? This was a thought that I usually had until something happened which made me finally realized, I was already using my own way to help her.
Time flew, Alice and I were about to get into the sixth grade. And although time flew, Alice didn’t show any sign of conquering her fear. Finally, her parents decided to take a drastic measure: to move her to Canada and start all over. They believed that a brand new environment, with nobody knowing her past, might give Alice a chance to throw away all the shackles and pressures.
Alice told me the news when it was near the end of the fifth grade. Upon hearing it, I was shocked, but I supported the idea immediately. Her flight was two months later. We then decided to use the time to the fullest. Alice brought two notebooks. We started to write, to write down everything in our daily lives, our conversations, the places we had been to, the boys we had had a crush on, and just everything. And then it’s time. She took one notebook away and I took the other. And the plane took off.
To everyone’s relieve and joy, things went just like what Alice’s parents had planned. Although Alice missed home and cried every day, although it was hard to be separated from her father and all the friends, at last, she started to talk. I still remembered clearly and profoundly, the first time ever we talked on the phone, the first time I heard her real voice. The feeling was hard to depict. I could only say it was so familiar and far away at the same time.
Fortunately, Alice’s life started to get better and better. She made a lot of new friends, found her interest in Art, and also became more and more active. During these years, we catch up on each other online, and hang out when she came back to Taiwan for vacation. Nearly two years ago, I even brought her to an Extra Meeting in NTUTM, and she fit in us just very well.
I will close the story here. As I said, it is a speech about a friendship of silence that taught me, what it means to say, you are my best friend. I had the profound realization when Alice told me she’s going abroad. At the age of eleven, instead of asking why and how come and being sad, I instinctively chose to support: because I knew it would be right for her. Alice teaches me that, being best friends, you will naturally, without any hesitation or doubts, put what is the best for each other as the priority, regardless it may also mean detachment and pain. Therefore, I would like to conclude my speech in this sentence: It was a friendship of silence, but meanwhile it is filled with the music of growth. TME.