tap one for no, two for yespublished: 2021-02-03
“Tap one for no, two for yes,” said my son. And so this is what I do as I lie next to him when he goes to bed. Usually, we speak for a bit. Now I tap. He asks if I feel okay, and I tap two. And whether I am able to work, which is a single tap. But do I mind that I can’t work? I tap once because I know he worries about my work. He worries because he knows how important it is to me.
I’m having to stay silent for a few days. I can speak, but am not allowed because of an operation. 22 years ago, I wanted to speak but couldn’t. Back then, I would have to squeeze sounds that came out in incontrollable bursts and it was exhausting. Now, I am waiting to unpack my new voice which I will be allowed do in a few days. I have secretly tested it, it sounds deeper and I am so relieved. Will this be my voice for happily ever after? Or will I still have moments when I am locked in by my own voice?
Now I worry I have ruined the operation for having tried it out and spoken. And also for coughing. And laughing. In general, I worry a lot about having ruined things. There’s this thing, isn’t there, about having a voice and using it wisely.
“Mama,” says my son, “I feel so bad that when I was small you used to try and call me, like when I was about to cross the street. And I wouldn’t hear you or sometimes I’d just pretend not to hear you because of your voice.”
I whisper to him, “don’t worry.” And he says, “don’t even whisper! Tap one for no, two for yes.” I wait for his next question. It doesn’t come, he falls asleep while I worry about tomorrow.