This weekend has been a harsh reminder of how different life can be without hearing sometimes.
It’s easy to sit here behind a computer screen and type as if my life is “normal” and as if real-life communication wasn’t the struggle it is.
Except, real life isn’t captioned. Deafness doesn’t come with a built in Star Trek translator gadget. And even nice people sometimes tire of the extra effort.
I’m not anti-social. Except… I am.
In a large meeting with numerous concurrent conversations, I’m lost.
In a party with loads of noise and background music, I’m lost.
In a luncheon with words spoken around mouths full of food, I’m lost.
With a church speaker with a perfectly placed microphone, I’m lost.
In a car where the road and a conversation both require eyes, I’m lost.
So I excuse myself from them. Smile and nod as if I understand. Turn music on that I cannot hear to avoid awkward silences in the car.
And at dusk. When everything slowly closes in. Conversations around a campfire where flickers of light only illuminate every fifth word – not nearly enough to understand the riotous laughter that ensues.
Sometimes, often, it’s the little things I miss.
I will never have a conversation with my husband in the dark.
Not one that doesn’t require loads of guesswork, exaggerated pantomime, and laborious fingerspelling.
And in a moment that would have been hilarious if I hadn’t already been sad; I laid next to my husband in the dark last night and tried to figure out what he was trying to say.
My hand followed his as he motioned up the side of his head.
And the sad hilarity, is that he was simply trying to itch his ear.
It’s okay to laugh. I am. The poor man.
It comes at a bittersweet and difficult time. We have reached a critical stage in this years-long “thing I can’t talk about”.
I can tell you that it has to do with my deafness. And how others have responded in ways that were either kind, or intentionally cruel. But the other part of that story is just how much you – on the other side of the computer screen, who don’t care if I’m deaf or hearing or skinny or purple – have been part of what has gotten us through this.
I’m not a victim. I am capable.
But sometimes, I’d just like to hear my husband’s voice in the dark.