When The Ears Speak

by Daleen Cowgar

You might not remember, or maybe you have hoped to forget, but we cannot, not when every morning’s ritual includes forcing rubber tubes down our pathways.

We have protested against your hearing aids in every way we can think of, and yet, you continue. From the moment you first inserted them, with the sounds screeching from every direction, when we couldn’t keep track of where a noise came from or how far away it was, until now, with the headaches driving you to bed, the fire burning through your canals. That should have taught you, but you repeated to us what you had been informed—this is better—and mindlessly plowed through it.

You never listen, even when we scream in agony, the constant aches that blossom into ear infections. Our agony drives you to your knees, till you can process nothing more than the bonfire inhabiting your eardrum, the hot spikes driving through your skull. Yet still, when the infection finally goes away and you stop overdosing ibuprofen and Tylenol, when we think you’ve finally understood, you shove the hearing aids back in as if nothing had ever happened.

You force us to process the world through a computer, who transforms the wind rushing by to a brainwashing crackle, who convinces you that pain is normal, who still can’t pick up the sound of your mother in the car. You still can’t hear your sister three seats down at supper, nor the oven timer from the other room. Your boss will never be comprehensible over the phone. The crinkle of plastic is an explosion within your skull and the creak of the door is a banshee’s song. But even with all that, you say, “This is fine,” and you never stop. You paint them as good and us as bad, but we are you, and they’re an imposter to mechanize one of your senses.

They lied. They said hearing aids would make it better, that there would be no discomfort, that the birdsong would make it all worth it, that the friends who wouldn’t have to repeat themselves anymore would love you again, that people hate being inconvenienced and this

will cease inconvenience for them. They said you would trade one pain for another, and you never asked whether one pain was worse than the other.

You block out the natural for the processed. You convince yourself that you are capable, and need nothing. You tell yourself, and us, that with these hearing aids, you are normal. You bought their lie, and now you try to pass it on to us as well.

You may be able to trick the brain to think that to be loved is to shoulder the burdens without mention and to take the pain with a smile. But we are the ears. You cannot trick us. We know, and we will not let you forget.

An abstract piece of art with overlapping patterns and circles in bright greens, reds, and yellows.

Travelling Inward 4

by Cristina Iorga

Daleen Cowgar writes stories that awaken the soul and bring to life little mysteries otherwise overlooked. When she’s not teasing life out of words, you can find her backpacking, visiting her horses, or pushing herself with martial arts. Follow her on Instagram under @daleentheauthor.

Cristina Iorga has earned an MFA in Printmaking from University of Iowa and a BFA in Drawing and Printmaking from the National University of Arts in Bucharest, Romania. Cristina Iorga’s art is a burst of the subconscious. In her conception, art is concerned with the expression of both the spiritual and the material. Iorga thinks that the expression of pure feeling puts the viewer in touch with an alternative, ultimately spiritual world.

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