Are you familiar with John Irving’s story A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound, originally found within his novel A Widow for One Year? Little Ruth wakes up in the middle of the night. In her dream, her bed has been shaking. Ruthie creeps out of her bed and tiptoes to the master bedroom. „Daddy“, she says. „I had a dream. I heard a sound.“ „What sort of a sound was it?“, her father asks. „It got into the house“, Ruth explains. „It’s in the house, but it’s trying to be quiet.“
My version of A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound is Faroese. And, with the benefit of hindsight, a bit embarrassing. But I’ll tell you, anyway. That pitch-dark winter night, I was woken up by a weird noise. Half asleep, I sat up in bed and tried to pin down the source. Without success. Seconds of dead silence, then, again, some kind of spooky sniffing and scratching.
Boldly, I got out of bed and sneaked around the corner – nothing. Time to inspect the front door and the corridor. Not a sound to be heard, except for the beating of my heart. Next, all of a sudden, sniffing and scratching, right in front of me, inside the wall.
Heartbeat, boom, boom. A sound like someone trying not to make a sound, inside the wall?! Slowly, I raised my head, noticed my reflection in the panorama window – and had three pairs of eyes staring at me. Sheep huddled against our exterior wall, appreciatively having a midnight grass snack. Heartbeat, slowing down, back to normal. Shortly afterwards, I got back to sleep – this time, without counting sheep.