I never knew my father when he could hear he sat alone so often silent in his silence and that appeared as normal to me but now I wonder at his struggle to live in the land of the whole and I wonder at the demons he fought.
He lived alone and unaided in the world of sound his work his life, his companion and with patience he listened to every voice soft and loud and spoke carefully, low and melodic, in a well modulated, resonant voice never slurring nor blending nor blaring the words in atonal unawareness.
As a child I begged him to read aloud and the Kipling rolled off his tongue I can still hear him now the old salt reading Gunga Din and Mandalay with feeling which transcended my understanding but pierced my soul I still have his old book of Kipling water-stained, battered and brittle from a hundred sea-bags.
Once he put his head into the space of my piano listened and withdrew his head and told me to put my head in there and play a bit a dissonant, echoing sound a mix of unpleasant highs and rumbling lows assaulted my ears when I withdrew my head he told me that’s what the world sounded like to him.
Now when demons beset me I wonder at his strength and sadly recognize myself as one of those who weighed heavily on his shoulders knowing that I only took and did not give that I left him alone and unsafe for all time pretending he could never wear down until I saw him dying.
He wrestled demons and put them down until that old demon death appeared his hand clasped mine in a rigid grip but I again too late too little too weak and with nothing to give and he worn and wasted waited until I had left to surrender and when I returned all was gone but for a silent husk.