I’m not Deaf enough to be considered Deaf. I’m not hearing enough to be considered Hearing. So where does that put me? It put me in the middle-between two worlds. It puts me into a different space, a warp in this dimension, I’m alone. Walking down a busy street, sitting at the holiday table I move in a void of silence.
What’s funny is I listen more carefully now than I ever did when I could hear. I struggle to understand and have to focus on what is being said. It’s amazing how much of what is said is fluff….filler to connect human fibers together. To help us all feel like we fit & belong in this world. When I a missed a cue -the look of astonishment occurs-again.
Over the years I pretended that I understood…..while being utterly alone.
I know there are others like me here, we keep to ourselves. I wonder if they can recognize me by my facial expressions. I recognize them when I see the confused misery or resigned acceptance of not understanding. People who have no clue that their face is giving their lack of hearing away.
My husband & I were traveling in PA. We stopped at a quaint restaurant. It was early & very few customers had arrived. I sat facing the door. A little old man and woman appeared and drifted towards our table. The man walked with a thick book clutched under his arm. When they passed our table he stopped & looked at me. He put the book, which now revealed itself as a photo album, on our table. He looked into my eyes-words he wanted to say stuck in his mouth. I knew he had had his larynx removed. My immediate response was to ask him if he communicated with sign. My fingers eagerly formed the shapes. He backed off as if I’d shouted at him. I stopped. He pointed to the book and back to himself. I told him I’d look at this book. They sat in the booth behind us. I opened the book and saw a calliope of color. It was a profusion of beautiful blooms. I realized that this is his communication with the world. Page after page flowers so vibrant speaking in a clear voice….his love for this world.
Breakfast arrived & I returned his book. First, I told him (speaking & signing) how beautiful his garden was. Then I told him we make quite a pair. He has perfect hearing, but no voice. I have a remarkable voice, but no hearing. If we both could sign, then we could truly communicate. He continued to stare at me-not use to someone communicating back.
We left-I was sorry I didn’t live in PA.