The Silence Between Us

By Cristina Hartmann

“The Silence Between Us” is about motherhood, deafness, and what it means to understand your daughter.

This story was one of the hardest I’ve written, emotionally and technically. Emotionally because I had to take an enormous leap of empathy into the mind of someone with very different values and worldview, and technically because I am a masochist and wrote a short story that encompasses decades. (If you think a “short” story with an extended timeline is an oxymoron, you might be right.) It took me over a year, three complete rewrites, weeks of research, and countless tweaks to reach the final version. I am stunned that I got there and am proud of the results.

Here’s one of my favorite passages:

* * *

Her thumbs made this odd zig-zag motion. “I work so hard. I—It’s like a puzzle. When you know what you’re looking for, you can fit them together. But if you don’t know, then nothing makes sense. I’m tired of looking for the pieces.”

She raised her chin, and her palm slid over her fist, a gesture somehow simultaneously gentle and threatening. “Enough. I’m going.”

* * *

— “The Silence Between Us” Kaleidoscope Magazine Issue 85 (Summer/Fall 2022) pp. 44-54.

You can access the full version as an PDF.

If you have any problems accessing the story for any reason, contact me and I will send you an accessible version!

© Cristina Hartmann