Friday, November 7, 2014

First Word: Ellen Hawkins: Magic


At the moment, I need some of it: a drum roll and a swirl of the wand.  The magician will tell you the wand distracts the spectators while he manipulates the mirrors. His assistant, Shirley, is pure eye-candy.  With her around, no one sees the rabbit being stuffed into the hat.
            Here is a truth that magic cannot alter: the absence of a sense of smell is connected with death. I haven’t been aware of smell for years. Have I passed my due date? How do you know something is gone if you don’t miss it?  Or is it present but undetected? Maybe it’s like listening to what people don’t say. They don’t say, ‘you’re losing your marbles’.
            My husband is not losing his mind; he’s going deaf. I used to tell him he needed a hearing aid. One day he said yes, he was aware of his hearing loss but he didn’t want one. Since then, I’ve hardly mentioned it. Sometimes I clear my throat while he’s driving in traffic with the left indicator clicking away merrily. I don’t tell him that it’s telling people where he wanted to go, and did, but that now it’s only telling people that he forgot to turn it off. He doesn’t need reminding that he can’t hear it. He’s waiting for the magic to kick in and renew his hearing so that I can stop fussing about something he doesn’t care to know.              We are well matched: one going deaf; the other losing her mind. Sometimes silence is the loudest noise of all. I hear it when no one mentions how often I forget what someone has just told me. I hear it when I lose my train of thought and grope for a word or phrase that never, ever comes. When this happens in a crowd, the silence of the waiting audience is louder than the clicking indicator.  I’m aware of patient looks. They’re very noisy. So far I haven’t spotted pity though I’ve no doubt that it’s out there somewhere. Mostly I’m grateful for others’ patience.     
            Some days I try to concentrate harder; some days the words flow and the mind remains on topic. Some days I’m the rabbit, nose twitching, ears quivering, waiting for the sparkle.

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