Fragments of memories sewed together with multiple threads of colored thoughts and feelings. As if to create a quilt…a quilt of memories…a life confirmed. Memories forgotten, hidden away, rejected…invisible quilt pieces…segments of emptiness.
My mother knew marginalization from the moment scarlet fever left her in a sound-void world reliant upon sight, touch, and feeling: dancing hands in the air, a light touch upon the shoulder, and pulsating vibrations.
She silently connected with her children through changes of vibrations…walking from one room to another, closing and opening of drawers, cupboards, and doors. Children free from “indoor voice” restraints; yet, moderated through visual and vibrating variations.
The house will filled with the sounds of snapping and clapping of hands dancing in the air – accompanied with spontaneous voice sounds. Feet stomping on floors, hands hitting flat surfaces or waving in the air, replacing a voice calling for another. The sounds of family games played simply for the fun of playing inserted with the sound of joy’s winning. And then followed with her graceful hands that sang, ”Should we play again?”
My mother and I blush…we most likely were the loudest family in the neighborhood.
As the sound of a single birdsong came into the window, my mother’s eyes watched as my hands clumsily hesitated in the air. The faded muscle memory of our home language tried to question if I learned to “read and formulate internal speech” through a greater reliance on sight, touch, and feeling than hearing.
I see her words…I piecemeal each movement together…I formulate sentences…I hear her words.
There is sadness in the shared remembrance of the moment our confidence in understanding one another suddenly vanished. She, a patient, recovering from carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists. She, lying in the hospital bed, unable to sign, speaking…saying words I could not understand … no vague sense of knowing, just variations of a high pitched voice.
I left the hospital room… a segment of our relationship had been severed. Saddened and overwhelmed by the experience of my loss and her vulnerable and alone helplessness.
Haiku before Haiku
Trans: S Carter