the life of richie


Posted in is, was by Rich on July 23, 2011

My ears have filled up with wax to drown out the sirens’ song (it often happens in the heat). Plug your oarsmen’s ears with beeswax kneaded soft; none of the rest should hear that song. But what song am I so afraid of, sailor? I dig at the wax with my nail but make no progress. I am deaf. I am the walking drowned.

One spring, I got a ringing in my right ear so intense, I thought: “This must surely be a brain tumor.” I was young then, and a beautiful fool. I decided I would, after seeing the doctor and touching upon the diagnosis, go into my class of beautiful, young things, tell them I was dying, that I was quitting teaching to travel the world before the Silence fell. How would they feel? I would tell them not to cry for me. (But in the phantasy I imagined them crying for me.)

The doctor said, “Not a brain tumor. Wax. Big ol’ ball of it. Ye’ll need ta soften it up first before we can extract it proper. Use these drops. Come back in a few days.”

But wax? But from where? Have I flown too close to the sun again, father?

A few days later I returned to the office, held a cup up to my ear as the gruff doctor squirted warm water into the canal. The wax ball dislodged, dropped into the basin like a piece of waxen ear-fruit (kerplop!).

He smiled: “Yer can keep it if ya like. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!


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