Suicide no. 8: Hope Grimwald
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
She’d never hear her name again.
The whole incident was “happenstance.” She just “happened” to be standing next to a bunch of idiots who thought that they knew how to set up fireworks. She was just within earshot, and too much within it to hear Tchaikovsky, Bach, Beethoven, or even the Rolling Stones (who she hated) ever again.
Just under the bridge, where the explosion happened: The one that killed three, injured two, and maimed one—one named Hope, who was now deaf.
Three months had passed since it happened, and there were support group meetings, family get-togethers, and her misinformed mother: who somehow made Hope’s deafness about herself and her own “hardship” (if you’d be so pretentious to call it a “hardship”). And all of it made Hope gag; it was as if teaching other people sign language somehow gave them an excuse to add it to their neutered laundry list titled “life’s struggles.”
Amid doctor visits, learning how to communicate with others with gestures, and not hearing the usually annoying sound of traffic on the beltway, Hope had a time that she set aside for herself. She’d go up into the University’s music hall: A place where everybody who majored in something related to music would practice in little rooms. She’d sit there in front of a piano, and peck at every C# on the instrument—every octave.
She could only “feel” two, somewhere deep inside her skull, or her hands, or the rock-hard floor beneath her.
She could feel the keys vibrating, only on that note, only on those two pathetically low octaves, and only for a moment before the notes faded into the nothing from which they came: Hope.
And she’d spend her twenty or so minutes of time, pecking away at those to things, and occasionally picking in-between to see if anything else at all resonated in the room. Nothing ever did. Ever. That void would consume her: Silence. She would die in silence, even if she knew that hers was the loudest, most important voice in the room.
After about three weeks of this mindless piano battering, she finally stopped going to the music hall.
Her mother never knew, or would know, because that woman was too controlling to have allowed Hope to do those things—even if it was those meaningless things that kept her sane to begin with. Hope could feel music inside of her, still remember what it sounded like: she felt the lyrics to Gimme Shelter, and actually missed the sound of Mick Jagger clanging off of her mother’s record player. She missed the sound of anything musical more than she missed the feeling of simply being alive to begin with.
And she’d miss that sound all the way to her grave, when she finally dug too deep into her anti-anxiety medication. She ate the whole prescription, and her “poor mother” would have to add to her laundry list: “finding Hope’s corpse.”
Inspired by The Daily Post on Luxury:
- Deaf News: Deaf swimmer “kicked off lifeguard course for being deaf” (limpingchicken.com)
- Roadshow aims to reverse culture of “downloading deafness” (amplifon.co.uk)
- Working with the Deaf (mckraegame.com)