It was brought to my attention last night at a neighborhood party that I had not contributed to my blog lately.
I knew this would happen.
One of my avid readers, the boyfriend of the party host and the only male there, mouthed at me from across the room and plateful of cheese and crusty garlic bread.
That’s all he had to say really. I knew he would at some point in the evening bring about my accountability for my writing.
“I know,” I mouthed back at him. “I’ve been applying for jobs lately. Not a lot of time for my writing.”
My avid reader is deaf. He contracted polio when he was twelve. Woke up one morning to complete and total silence. I cannot imagine losing my hearing. Sometimes I think I’d rather be blind. To not hear the crescendo of a song that makes your whole body vibrate? To not hear the birds sing outside the window, reminding me of simplicity and nature? To not hear the myriad of beautiful (and not so beautiful) voices and accents from around the globe in their own rhythm and cadence?
But my avid reader doesn’t let this silence deafen his life. He fishes. He shops at the flea market impatiently with his girlfriend. He attends parties. He drives the old ladies (and intoxicated) people home. And he reads lips from across the room.
I am in awe of this ability. I try to read lips, too. I usually look at a person’s mouth when they are speaking to me. It helps clear the wobble of communication in loud places. But my avid reader not only reads lips, he recognizes accents, too. He knew I came from somewhere-in-the-south when he first met me. His girlfriend is English, and boasts a refined Liverpool accent. Thank goodness because she enunciates with the precision of a stern schoolteacher. I can’t imagine poor avid reader trying to read the lips of some of the people I heard mumbling their way through life during my childhood.
Despite his handicap, which perhaps he doesn’t even recognize it as that, he is one of the happiest people I know. I hear his laughter all the way down the street sometimes when I’m walking the dog.
I claim to be, and am, a very auditory person. I have music playing almost constantly. I can’t even brush my teeth without clicking my iPod to shuffle. But when my son and husband went away on a trip for a week I did not turn on the TV or music until the day before they arrived. It was as if I needed that calm quiet. That peacefulness after years worth of conversation and children and cartoons and the pop of Nerf guns.
I wouldn’t want the absence of sound all the time like Avid Reader. Although that absence does magnify the other senses. Maybe colors are more vivid. Hugs are deeper. The gulf breeze more caressing. Faces have more character.
And just maybe words, lines, and stories birth an even bigger life within the scream of silence. And when at a party full of cackling women the silence must be just heavenly.