“The Sound of Silence” is one of those rare songs I really wish I could experience for the first time all over again. I can’t actually recall a time in which I didn’t know it. Simon & Garfunkel were ever-present voices in my house–something I complained about when I was a child (I always wanted to listen to The Big Chill Soundtrack — on repeat) and embraced when I was a teen.

My parents were not, however, as extreme as this friend’s were (as revealed to me over lunch):

“My mother, she would round us up.”

“Like cattle?”

My friend nods.”Yup, she’d herd us into the living room.”

“She took her Simon & Garfunkel seriously.” I’m suddenly grateful that my parents were low-key in their S&G worship. I probably would have rebelled at being rounded up.

“We’d sit in the living room and she’d turn out all the lights and we’d listen to ‘The Sound of Silence’.” She smiles. ” We didn’t speak until we had properly had time to absorb the song. The boys didn’t get it.”

I wasn’t sure I was getting it, either. “She knew that whole line about ‘Hello Darkness, my old friend’ isn’t literal, right? And the bit about the silence?”

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