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The only sound I know is a car horn. An angry, violent car horn. Beeping mercilessly until all sound stopped for me. Not the most pleasant sound I guess, but it’s all I’ve got.
It’s my music. Kinda like that song you can’t get out of your head. But I have an obligation to hold onto it. It’s the only thing I remember hearing.
October 31, 2000. It was a fairly warm Halloween. Not one of those nights where you had to stuff a sweatshirt underneath your costume. Thank god because that would have looked horrible beneath my ballerina tutu. I had this cute little tiara complete with the most obnoxious pink rhinestones you’ve ever seen.
We got in the car just before dusk to go trick or treating. Piling in, I clenched my empty pillow case in my hand. Oh man I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to run around neighborhoods with my cousin. I couldn’t wait to take all the candy out of the bowls of vacant homes. I couldn’t wait to have all the people compliment me on how great my costume was. But now? I wish I could have waited.
I don’t remember much about the crash. It was as if the world had paused, if only for a moment. My mother turned around from the driver’s seat, horrified eyes meeting mine. That look of fear, I’ll never forget.
Everything went black after that.
A drunk driver. A f***ing drunk driver. Seriously, who drinks before dusk? Not that son of a b**** anymore. He's in jail for manslaughter.
My mother died that night.
I can tell they think I got lucky. That I should have been dead too that night. Thank god it was only my hearing. So blessed, so fortunate.
Yeah well I’m super duper blessed. I’m here still on earth, I can’t hear, and I don’t have a mother.
I miss music the most I think. There’s no particular song I can remember, but I wish there was. It would just make everyone so happy, as if therapy for your ears. For those couple of minutes when a song was playing everything else just didn’t seem to matter. I’d do anything do get those moments back. I’d do anything to just escape, even if just for a little. Really anything.
All people know me as is “that deaf girl”. It’s not like I go to some special school for the deaf, we didn’t have money for that. So “lucky” me again I get to just deal with the stares day in and day out from all the lovely freakin’ people that go to my school. Sometimes I wish I had just been blind. It’s easier that way I think. You don’t have to see when people are judging you.
I hated looking at people’s mouths moving. That’s all people ever seemed to do. Talk talk talk talk talk. Well that’s great if you can actually hear what they’re saying. I try to read lips but I really suck at it. So unless you can do sign we really aren’t ever going to “talk”.
But that was all about to change. Or at least it was supposed to. The latest surgery procedure had promised some pretty crazy results, like supposedly I was going to completely gain my hearing back. I wasn’t going to get my hopes up or anything because things don’t tend to go my way. This wasn’t the first operation I had, had and I highly doubted it would be my last.
“Olivia we’re going to start some beep tests, so raise your hand it you hear anything, okay?” Doctor Hern said using sign language.
I nodded. I mean it’s great that I got this surgery and everything but would it really make a difference? My doctors seemed super optimistic but I just don’t know. You know how doctors can be. Everything is all happy and cheery until the results actually come back. Not to mention the success rate was 50/50 or something like that. Would I be the half that got to hear? Or the half still left in silence?
The doctor motioned to a red button in her hand indicating she was starting the test. I was still. Heavily breathing, I closed my eyes trying to focus.
My grandma stared at me with worried eyes; her foot tapped the ground in a perfect rhythmic pattern. I think she wanted me to hear more than I wanted to.
The doctor looked at me expecting my hand to shoot up any second. But clearly, it wasn’t.
Ah s*** did I go through this whole thing for nothing? All the hope, all the pain…seriously and nothing happens. I shouldn’t be surprised honestly. I mean this sort of…
What in the he** was that?!
It couldn’t be…did I really just hear that? Scratch that, did I really just hear?
There it was again. Different this time though. I didn’t know the word for it, maybe angrier?
I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I hated crying in front of people but I couldn’t help it. It just all came out at once.
“Doctor can she hear? Oh I knew this wasn’t a good idea look she’s all upset now and…”
“Grandma, I can hear,” I gasped clasping my mouth. I hadn’t heard my own voice in twelve years.
Twelve years. Twelve years I had been left in silence. That was all over now. Like a past life or something. This was the new me, the Olivia that could hear.
“Someone play music! I don’t care what it is, just something! I need to hear it!” I said. My voice was strange, different… I don’t know how to describe it…just not normal. It didn’t sound like the doctor’s or my grandma’s at least. I’d tell you how it sounded if I could, but I really haven’t had much experience with this kind of stuff.
“Uhh I think I have some Beethoven on this computer if that counts? Here just give me a second,” Doctor Hern said as she went to her computer.
It came all at once. Like that moment when you jump into a swimming pool and you’re completely surrounded by water. This is what I had been missing. This magic. This beauty. I felt invincible, as if in this moment anything was possible.
All of the things that had once held me back, were gone forever.