Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Not the imaginary noise, not the songs that won't stop playing, not angst. I'm talking about an actual jackhammering, geiger-counting, tick tick tick that caused one doctor (who could hear it himself) to take a long step back in surprise. The cause, that same doctor thinks, is a muscle spasm tied to the radical jaw surgery I had many years ago, when my lower jaw no longer connected to the upper. (A genetic misfortune.)
It's taken some doing, growing accustomed to this.
Now, the woman who craved silence, requires silence, can't live without silence, must seek noise—atmospheric bird call, rain drops, train rumble, anything in real life or channeled through a white-noise machine—to cancel out the splatter inside her head. She walks around with ice packs pressed to one ear, tries out Advil and muscle relaxants and decides against, stops drinking that single glass of wine she once enjoyed, in case the wine is somehow implicated in this business. She tries to hear past, concentrate harder, go beyond, be pleasant, but the rumble is nearly always there. It is the first thing she hears, and the last.
And then, as on this very morning, there is a sudden spell of silence.
I don't know, anymore, what is certain, in all of this. Whether this is just some game my muscles are playing, some hide and seek with insanity, some temporary beat this.
I only know how gloriously grateful I am for these interludes of silence. How I'll never take silence for granted again. How, when I see the many people out there who face far more than this—a damaged sense, a lost limb, a difficult diagnosis, a drowning sorrow—I respect them more than I ever did. There but for the grace, I think. For it is grace that all of us seek.