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The Music of Silence

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I used to have a life that was directed by music. It felt like a train where the notes would pour out of the exhaust pipe as the conductor shouted ‘All aboard!’. I loved trains for the sole reason that they had a natural music to them. The chugging of the engine, the scream of the whistle, the screech of the wheels and the constant rocking in tempo back and forth. I would ride a train to my grandmother’s house in the summer and just close my eyes and feel the heartbeat of man’s creation making music.

Stupid Glue Ear.

For those that don’t know, Glue Ear is another name for Otitis Media (Latin for "Middle otitis"). It is an inflammation of the middle ear, or middle ear infection. Causes you to lose your hearing. Caused me to lose my hearing.

It was gradual. I thought at first I was delusional. Never be hasty and jump to conclusions you know. It was when I couldn’t hear my alarm go off in the morning or Mom would yell up the stairs to get ready for dinner and I wouldn’t move a muscle that I started worrying. Oops, too late. Doctors said to learn sign language while I still had the little bit of hearing left. Then I woke up one day and couldn’t hear a thing. Just the silence. You think awkward silences are bad? Try hearing that for the rest of your life. There’s no words to describe it except… loud. Painfully loud. I covered my ears and screamed. All that I took noticed of was the pain in my throat and the vibrations in my chest. No sound.

I grew up as a special education kid. Enough said.

Then I graduated and moved on with my life. I took up photography. Being deaf, my eyesight was spectacular and I found relief in the pictures. I found the music that only the eyes can feast upon. I bared my soul to the pictures of flowers asking for the sun and children playing with purity in their expression. They brought me something to live for.

One day I went to a nursing home in hope to find touching scenes. Maybe love stories. Maybe young hands holding fragile ones. Instead I found David, a volunteer at the home. He was chasing a bird that made its way into the cafeteria and I didn’t hear him yelling to get out of the way and he plowed right into me. We both were sent sprawling onto the tile, with my curls and batteries on the run. His mouth was moving. He was apologizing. He was picking up my batteries. And checking my camera to see if it was okay. His eyes were blue like an ocean reef. Then he asked something. And asked it again. I pointed to my ear, showing I was deaf. An emotion played into his eyes. Pity? Then he gave me my camera and mouthed I’m sorry. He got out a piece of paper.


‘You’re deaf?’


I nodded and wrote ‘Do you know sign language?’ He shook his head no.


‘Do you come here a lot?’


My turn to shake my head no.


‘You should. It’s nice to see younger people around here.’ His cheeks were specked with a slight blush. I wanted to take a picture of it.

After that I came every day and we would walk through the gardens during lunch and I would take pictures and he would write me notes. I would teach him words in sign language if he asked. I would go to my apartment and hug my pillow to sleep. He made me so happy.

Thirteen months later he entered my apartment (He couldn’t ring the door bell or knock; I wouldn’t hear it). I ran to hug him. He shook his head and took my hands. Then let go. I didn’t understand. I nearly started crying. He wasn’t going to leave me alone… was he?

David stared at my hands. Then my ears. Then my eyes. We stood there waiting for the other to do something. Then he took me in his arms again and held me like he was never going to let me go.

And he never did.



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lindabinda said...
Dec. 29, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Whoa. This is by far one of the best writing I've seen yet on this site. 

I love it. Great writing, great descriptions, great pacing. And great ending. Keep writing(:

 
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