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a deafening silence

I think I was 8yrs when we moved to Inglewood, it was different for a lot of reasons mostly the noise of jet airliners flying overheard. I remember how much the noise bothered us and how we said we’d would never get used to it….and yet over time we did. The unconscious ability to either interrupt yourself while one goes by or to raise your voice to be heard took root. It’s kind of amazing what we can adapt to when we must.

Jump forward in time 18yrs and I myself in my first apt trying to unpack things and all the while something nagged at me, something i couldn’t put my finger on….the kind of thing that you pass off with a shrug. It wasn’t till I was ready for bed and having turned out the lights did I realize what was bothering me.  There was no sound of commercial aircraft flying overhead to LAX! In Inglewood we lived in one of the approach corridors so there was always throughout the day the sound of jets flying overhead. And there in my new apt it was suddenly oh so very quiet; that’s what had been bothering me. Needless to say I didn’t really sleep that night or any other night for quite some time and quite frankly it was a bit unnerving even in the daytime. So for a long time I went home to hang out a lot, ah the sounds of home!

Fast forward another 14yrs and I find that I’m straining to hear something that’s can’t & won’t be heard; I keep listening for my mother’s voice. The airplanes fly overhead, sirens blare down the street, the neighbors play their music too loud and yet the silence I experience is deafening and far more unnerving than their absence would be. From the moment a child develops hearing they learn to distinguish their mother’s voice, it’s one of the first things we hear. I would say that to hear our mothers voice is one of the first things we become accustomed to, and I think possibly one of the most difficult things to be accustomed to not hearing.

I talked with my mom practically every day, even when I had moved out I always called her to see what’s what. And living back at home with her I was used to hearing her talk on the phone to my aunts and to others that it was a sound that was just THERE. And now it’s not. Gone are stories of her childhood that used to always come up, and so many other repeated ones that I’d heard a thousand times before. Even when I’d say so she’d just tell me that’s alright, she’d just tell it again in case she’d left something out the other times.

I miss the conversations that she and I had especially the ones that we had repeatedly, how we’d reminisce about my Dad, my grandmother, and memories of her sisters & brothers. Mostly I didn’t realize how much of a comfort it was just to hear her talk.  It’s unnatural to have to accustom yourself to not hearing such a voice.

It’s such a deafening silence…


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