The Frequency of Loss

Particular frequencies have always driven me crazy.  I can hear sounds that no ordinary human can and I have been able to do so since I was a small girl.  No-one knows why, doctors aren’t able to pinpoint it exactly, but it’s like I can hear things that aren’t even proper sounds.  I can hear the sound of thought and feeling. I can hear other people’s displeasure, excitement, fantasy, jealousy, rage, frustration, sadness, melancholy, and utter, utter despair or madness.  That sounds very much like fingernails on a blackboard.  I hear these noises all the time and cannot switch them off.  I can’t do very much about it either, as how do I approach a stranger and express concern or sympathy at how they feel?  I tried it once and all I got was abuse.  So it’s like a fairly useless gift.  Images sometimes accompany these sounds, not always, but sometimes.  Powerful images that strike me down with their realism, and then they are gone.  It is as though I co-exist simultaneously in two worlds, my reality and that of other people.  And yet, after a fashion, I got used to it.  When I am alone my head feels empty, hollow, almost aching with loss, loss of feelings and the older I get the less able I am to be able to generate feelings of my own.  When I want to feel, really feel something, I have to be with others so I can absorb their feelings and pretend they are mine.

It is as though I am ceasing to exist as me, every day that goes by I seem to be less.  As Haruki Murakami might say, my shadow is more faint than that of other people.  So I absorb.  Sometimes I want to cry at my identity loss, at my fractured and unhealed self, messy and hollow and soaking up other people’s lives.  I am the life collector.  I don’t know why it feels so healing to do this, but it does.  I used to hate it.  I used to see it as invasion, but my ego-self was more fully embedded in me then, I was more whole.  Now I am lost without it.  I see myself like Echo, she of Greek mythology.  I cannot cry for myself, even if I want to, I think I should cry, see, that’s the difference.  I think I need to bemoan my loss, but I don’t feel it.  And if I lie with another and make love, I only feel what he is feeling.  I ache to feel what he felt as he was inside me, such a rush of emotion.  So I ache for him, but he is no longer mine.  It’s a void that is too hard to bear.

I am here now, in the library.  I like it.  I like the sense of peace people have in libraries.  I see fields and trees and rivers.  I hear noises like contented sighs in people’s heads as they stare at the shelves.  Some people’s passion for books I find captivating.  I hear noises of sssshhhhhhh, and aaaaahhhh as people settle down with old, dear, titles and I feel like I am walking on air.  I hear boredom too, coming from that teenager over there.  He is thinking of a lover.  I know because I can feel similar sounds that my ex used to exude.  Only lighter, less serious, less adult, somehow.  Less formed, fragmented.

Scratch, scratch.  I look up; the sound of frustration.  It grows to a waaaaaaah sound, peaks, then dims.  Ah, sorrow.  Fierce sorrow comes in like the sound of a crow at first, then a nightingale.  Jagged sorrow indeed.  A young woman sits watching me, eyes so hollow I wonder how she can remain alive at all.  Her spirit is gone.  She speaks inside my head.

“I know you can hear me.”

I look startled.  Rivers of black appear before my eyes as I become lost in another vision.  The rivers merge into one, powerful black river, like the river Styx.  It is just me and this woman, sitting at the bank.  Overhead it is raining lightly, but the sky is a deep, dark grey, and a wind whips the tall grass into a frenzy.

“How do you know?”  I ask, simply.  It is useless to argue, and I somehow suspect it is she who has transported me here.

“I saw the way you interpreted the room.  I do that too.  And then I felt the way you lacked feelings of your own.  I saw the emptiness.  I felt it get filled up with everyone else.”

I sit in silence, contemplating.  Another like me!  How strange this is, and yet, it feels utterly natural.  I stare at her, drinking in every detail.  She is probably in her mid-twenties, dark hair cut in a short, functional bob.  Her eyes!  Deep, dark, sunken mysteries, they speak of loss and the sort of longing where you cry ceaselessly, night after night, trying to fill the aching chasm that lies within your chest with anything, drugs, drink, sex.  Those are eyes I could love.  If I could feel love, she would make me feel it.


© 2010. Sarah Horne. All Rights Reserved.


~ by Story on October 17, 2010.

One Response to “The Frequency of Loss”

  1. Interesting.

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