The Sound of Silence

After lifetime of being deaf, my best friend just received cochlear implants.  When he woke up from the surgery, we all stood around him.  His wife was the first one to say anything. He heard her voice and at once began to cry.  We all took turns speaking, letting him hear our voices and our names, and with each word we said, he became more emotional.  When we were all finished, silence hung in the room.

He looked up at me and asked what that sound was.  It took me a moment to understand what he was hearing, and when I understood, I told him he was hearing silence. 

He shook his head.  “This isn’t silence,” he said slowly, hearing his own voice for the first time.  “I’ve been hearing silence all my life, and this is different.”

A sound came from just outside the hospital room, and he perked up immediately.  “Isn’t that silence?”

We all exchanged looks of trepidation around the room before I spoke.  “No,” I said slowly.  “That was the sound of someone screaming.”


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