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The Lonesome Chair
By R. L.

 

          I never had a loud voice until our Dad got up in years. I remember when I went to the Doctor’s with him. I was 14 yeas old. The Dr. asked him to “urinate in a glass,” and Dad said “Hu?” The Dr. repeated it again, and Dad said “Hu?” The Dr. lost his patience: “Would you Please pee pee in the glass?”

          Father was not a diplomat, what he thought is what he usually said – but not this time. Instead, he said, “Sorry, Doc. I should have told you that I was hard of hearing, I guess you didn’t see my wire going up to my ear?”

          I was furious, but my father hushed me up.

          When we left the doctor’s office, I asked Dad, “How come you were so nice to the SOB?

          “Well,” he replied, “I am surprised that he did not apologize, especially a doctor, but I’ve learned that telling them about my problem, they are usually a little embarrassed. I don’t know if this guy was or not.
          I think the Doctor was more ashamed than we were hurt.
          Over the years, I have lost most of my hearing. I am just as deaf as my father was then, and I realize it is my problem, some people understand that, some do not. Generally, at a dinner table of six to eight strangers, the one who is hard of hearing, is seldom involved in the conversation; he or she sits in the lonesome chair – and not because they do not want to be in the conversation.
           Then why is this so?

          When my wife is with me, if she sees that I did not hear the message, she looks at me and repeats it to me, and gives me a chance to acknowledge it, myself.

           Then they address, my wife – not me.