Monday, December 15, 2008

The silence of everyday things

I spent the day without my hearing aid, due to an infection that refused to be subdued. I think the last time I went without my hearing aid for a day was 8 or 10 years ago when my ear swelled shut, like a clam jealously guarding its treasure.

It was (and is) a curious experience. You would think that being nearly deaf like me, I would be accustomed to it. And I am, to the extent that I look forward to being swaddled in silence every night. But to be up and about, doing things, with a vociferous cat underfoot, and not hearing any of it, is strange. My brain begins to reach for the sounds that it feels should be there. The rustle of a shirt, the tapping of fingers against the keyboard, the hiss of water shooting out of the faucet, the cat chirping at the birds outside. I find myself rehearsing those sounds in my mind, and, like the person trying too hard to remember the face of a person she treasured, losing my grip on them the harder I try.

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