It was a long day coming. One I anticipated and feared with equal respect. The road that brought me here I traveled for over thirty-five years. My vehicle had its issues to contend with, but when you deal with something like this for this long, you just get used to them and find ways to make the road as smooth as possible.
I took the day off from work because I knew it was going to be a stressful day. I battled the demons whispering in my ear that I wouldn’t fit in and that people would make fun of me. I was made fun of as it was, so that worry was dropped and I picked up another. I was about to merge onto a different road in life, but what if the road I was on was wrong? What if everything I took for truth, was actually a carnival mirror manipulation? Would I be hearing my wife’s voice for the first time, or was she the one truth I actually possessed?
With more questions and concerns than my introverted mind could cope with, I traveled the short distance to meet a man that could potentially give me some answers and change my life.
Walking through his office door, a cowbell attached to the glass door sang out an off-key welcome. It was a waiting room with a rarely-used pair of matching couch and chair from the nineties. The man called out a greeting from his open office door before coming into sight. He was a man of late forties, possibly fifties with salt-and-pepper hair. To me, he was the wise guru that sat at the crossroads of this point in my life. As we discussed the road I wanted to go down, he set me through his paces to determine if he could help me. The mental weight was laid upon me when he said the prospects looked good.
Faced with a major decision to make, I went home and thought it through from every conceivable angle I could fathom. When my wife returned from work, we discussed it even further. It was a huge investment for something that we didn’t know would benefit me and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to face that kind of disappointment if things went south.
Within a week, I met with the salt-and-peppered guru and voiced my final decision to pursue his proposal. As we discussed the plan, I couldn’t help but notice his fatherly quality and the grin that pulled at the corner of his mouth. We parted with a handshake and a promise of a phone call when it was ready.
Another week passes before I listened to a voicemail with some great news. I call him back on my work break and set up a time for the next day to meet with him. I spent a restless night tossing pillows and tugging sheets before the new day came.
My nerves were so high I thought I would choke on them. I proudly rejected staying over at work and flew out the door. I wasn’t going to miss this appointment. The cowbell greeted me and the man met me in his office where the magic show was soon to begin.
He explained the simple commands that I would need to achieve success with the tools he was about to sell me. My eyes took in every detail of what he was doing as he handled them. Could something so small really make a big difference in my life? The moment arrived and he inserted those tools into my ears and the world came alive with more intensity than I had ever experienced. His voice multiplied three-fold and instinctively, I brought my hands halfway to my ears to block the sound before I realized this was suppose to be happening.
I was hearing the world in a completely different way.
After he cycled through the settings and volume levels, -which caused my eyes to water slightly- he handed me the equipment to care for my new mechanical ears. I wrote him a check for the coverage fee of traveling this new road and I shook hands with my new friend.
Walking to my vehicle, I heard a noise coming from the trees and froze where I stood. Half an hour ago, I heard none of it. Had those birds been there the whole time? I would never know. Regardless, I stood there with my jaw slack and scanned the trees with my blurring vision. It was the best magic show on this planet. Any magician can make something disappear, but only a master can keep something hidden in plain sight for over thirty-five years.
The amount of sensory input was overwhelming. I found out how noisy my vehicle was, heard someone speak from another room, and spent the evening listening to the birds with my wife.
The new road I embarked on has been one of relearning core principles and learning new ones. Certain people sounded different. A sort of mechanical voice over-laid their voice as twins reciting lines for a school play. Music was something I dove into head first exploring every avenue and venue. Singers traded disembodied murmurings for words, blending with the music to reveal the true meaning of the song. I watched movies with an insatiable appetite. My first, new experience at the movie theater moved me to tears, but my manly stature told me to cry quietly and keep it contained behind the walls of testosterone. I slipped a finger to the corner of my eye, regardless of the warning.
The world held a new magic for me and I was thankful to experience it all for the first time.