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Orchestra

There is no noise tonight, close to dawn, besides the crunch of jobs tears in my mouth. It is four a.m., and I am hungry, and I am elated. My ears don't sound too bad. There was, very briefly, an eeeeeee, when I tried to go to bed around ten, but apart from that, I heard silence. I'm in a different environment: my mother's home, in the north of Bangkok, where behind me is a green field and some empty cabs stationed - but I'm not supposed to look, because how isolated we seem to be also freaks me out. 


Going to bed tonight, I heard the serenity of silence (which, if I were to be honest, already disappeared by the time I began this paragraph; this ringing, it comes and goes; I sound like I'm having something faxed into my right ear, right here, right now).


I had never thought about how to characterize the ability to not hear until I stopped having it; now, when I spot silence, I know it, I wallow in it: it's an expanse of air that my body quietly measures, starting from my ear. Silence looks tall and wide. Silence tastes like filtered water.

Going to bed tonight in silence, I breathed in deeply on my bed, over and over, trying to go up to one hundred deep breaths. I didn't want to lose the silence, I wanted to hold it in, and I suppose that by remembering the orifice that is my nostrils, I tried to bring silence up there, too. My head is nowhere close to having that silence anymore. Instead, by the time I'm at this paragraph, a vertical equator is bursting in high-volumed flames across my skull, and my right ear is continuing to fax. I'm on the rocking chair that my mother brought up to my bedroom from downstairs, and I notice that when I rock it, I can hear the creak of the wooden floor; when I breath deeply, I can hear hear my breath buzzing, when I type quickly, I can make my MacBook keys sound like a xylophone pop. I seem equipped to create an orchestra with all these tools and the noises in my ear. It seems time to experiment, make myself like an interactive children's museum exhibit, where clatter, thrust, and screech are part of purposeful, chaotic learning.


I imagine: my daughter - from whom lately I've been sleeping separately, so that I can sleep in a room with a balcony, windows opened, to let in ambient noise - being woken at this hour, walking into my room to the image of her mother in mismatched clothes, moving furniture around, stomping her feet, huffing and puffing, to find music in her ears. I don't know if that would be a crossing a line, if the difference between being crazy or not weren't in whether or not people spotted you in a certain act.


I could turn on real music, the ones synthesized in studios, to cover up the ringing. My phone with Spotify is in this room. But something stressful happens whenever I do that. Instead of letting myself go with the music, I find myself competing with it: I try to see if I can hear my tinnitus over it or not. I try to hear if the music is working, but part of something working usually relies on its air of effortlessness.


I suppose one of the things I'm doing nowadays is learning how to live more with the ringing effortlessly, how to let it come like the sound of the wind, and how to let it go like the sound of the wind (my brain has just immaturely associated: fart). Things change. My Buddhist father had often said this to me when I was growing up. Life is birth, aging, hurting, and dying. I hear a dog barking.


Life is birth, aging, hurting, and dying, and I am life.


The dog has stopped barking.


The cicadas are flapping their winds, and they sound both like electrical currents and whimpers of souls.


I've left the jobs tears on the dresser. The bag is opened, but I have nothing good to close it, and I'm afraid a cockroach will come, and I won't, or I will - and I will, or I won't - hear an orchestra involving its hunger.

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©2020 by Thammika Songkaeo.