I used to watch all of Marvel’s movies. They were a shut-up-and-take-my-money situation. And you could bet that I would read or watch most things involving super powers, mutations, or human evolution. I found it fascinating. I remember one show that depicted super hearing as part-super power, part-curse.
And I can confirm the part-curse bit. Since the break-in and attack last year, I can’t turn the world down. My therapists say it’s a PTSD symptom: hypervigilance, hyperacusis. And sometimes it’s hell. I don’t watch those movies anymore without my kids pleading to watch together, noise cancelling headphones, a drink in my hand, and subtitles. My kids pre-open their candy so that the plastic doesn’t crinkle next to me. We’ve all changed our lives in little ways to co-exist. I wear the headphones and run four miles a day, sometimes sequestering myself when the day has been a bit too loud. They tone it down when I cringe at something like cabinets closing in the kitchen. Today’s poem details living with this super-curse.
I think someone is hitting our counter.
And I ask you to check downstairs.
And I’m so sure I’m right.
I argue until you show me…
that the sound only happens when the dog breathes out.
YouTubers blaring that we should “smash that button”
make me want to smash my eardrums.
I can’t think around it.
I flinch when you hammer a stud into place.
And I’m back against a door with it splintering around me,
buying my family more time.
So, you find me now before you hammer, drill, nail, sew,
decibel warnings far below the prescribed level litter our days.
You hand me noise cancelling headphones
like a life ring for the drowning.
And I hold on.
I ask you each time, “Will it ever get better?”
And you always say yes.
I don’t care if it’s truth or a lie
or only what you believe.