The story of a man coming to terms with loss: the loss of his job, his wife, and more profoundly, the loss of his hearing. As he struggles to come to terms with the reality of his new world, he beings to find a new equilibrium – and then, unexpectedly, the potential of a new future… A short story about love, loss and the salvation of words.
I had not expected to fall in love again. Not after all this time. I had assumed that those days were long behind me, replaced by an ultimately ineffectual flirting leading nowhere in particular. And yet, here I was – and as old as I was – displaying those annoyingly enthusiastic and naive tendencies usually the purview of the young and the innocent. If I recognised them it was simply because I had been there before; memories dredged up from when I had been young and naive myself, from when passion and focus were one and the same thing, from when the days simply weren’t long enough. Being able to see it, privately and in myself, now gave me options, of course. I had choices. A choice in whether I embraced this new love or not; or if I did, how far I might take it, and at what speed. My age – my considerable age! – allowed me to regulate it in a fashion I had never previously enjoyed. Those choices gave these new ‘old’ emotions weight and substance; there was a degree of gravitas in what I felt now, a sense of purpose. I was able to be seen, browsing openly in publicly, with what I imagined – or hoped! – might appear to others to be a manner that was somewhat profound. Because that was how it felt.
If you asked me what triggered this re-ignition, then I would struggle to answer. How do most things start, I might challenge. We like to think of cathartic or cataclysmic events, episodes of chance, luck – danger even – that suddenly and uncontrollably propel us from one state to another. Incidents that spawn some kind of seismic shift from there to here – and these always seeming to be the more profound when we realise that the ‘here’ to which we have travelled was somewhere or something that about which we were ignorant, or didn’t see coming. There is, within most of us I assume, an element that thrills with being out of control – when such a state is actually safe enough. We look back on that step change with a frisson of almost electric excitement, as if all the atoms in the world had been rearranged, just to sweep us from A to B.
Not that it was like that for me, of course. Not only was there no sudden and magical moment that was the cause for transformation, my new ‘here’ was somewhere I had been before. It was known territory. As I say, I’d like to think that all this foreknowledge made my conversion seamless, and was the platform on which my ‘knowingness’ could be based. I had, you might say, a solid foundation.
But then again, I might be lying. Or at least not telling the whole truth.