Not Bad Though.

Fiction Apr 17, 2020

Light and Sound, the two resources essentially giving your life a smooth curve. Your life is complete, like a movie. Literally, it’s a movie. You can see, hear and hence comprehend it, which gives you a meaning,just like to your life. But Morgan and Aurora couldn’t enjoy their movies. Since birth, Morgan was deaf & Aurora was blind. Morgan could see the chaos, but it was always silent for him. Aurora could listen to the chaos’ intensity, but she could never understand What is the problem? They didn’t know each other, but as they say “Change is Constant”, so be it.

Though Morgan was deaf by birth, he could speak very well. Gratitude to a selfless organization which sponsored his ability to speak. Loosing one sense was enough. Mediocre financial conditions further put their special condition through rough times. Both of their parents need money for their recovery nothing else. Aurora’s parents couldn’t see her, not seeing how many friends turned up for her birthday.
When her Dad used to get a haircut, she couldn’t comment on it, except for “I really hope it looks good on you”, they want her to see that black is not the only color, blue is pretty dope. Morgan’s parents went through something similar. They wanted to know what kind of music he is into, they want to sing with him the Christmas carols, they want him to turn around quickly when his friends shout, “MORGAN!
Let’s play!”. These were dreams, which were about to come true.

It costs about thirty thousand dollars for Morgan’s Cochlear Implant and around thirty-five thousand dollars for Aurora’s Corneal Transplant. Her parents got a call from the City Hospital that there is a donor available for her. Morgan’s parents have been saving for the last 3-4 years, exhaustingly, they could gather that sum. First week of December, Aurora entered the hospital with her radiant parents. A few moments later, Morgan’s parents entered the hospital singing a Fleetwood Mac song. He told the guard that when he can hear, he should start with Fleetwood Mac.

Three hours later, Aurora and Morgan came out of adjacent OTs. But because they were new to these senses, they were taken to a recovery center to let the new sense come to terms with the body. Their parents were instructed that they could meet them after twelve days, it was the center’s policy. The center was called “New Life”. The two, still unaware of each other, rested the first two days and faced gradual practices to get accustomed with the sudden outburst of natural light and sound. Day Three, Morgan & Aurora were aware of each other’s existence, they had a feeling that there was someone with them, as a part of recovery. Day Five, Aurora had grasped the sense of sight quickly. Morgan was beginning to identify voices and noises. He identified pitches and mellowing sounds often sent him into an emotional trance.

The center had a ritual that they would take new patients on a mini ride, to know the world better. A ritual to see the movie again but with all senses. Day Ten, both approached normalcies. The nurses thought of something. Aurora and Morgan were dressed as Royals. They looked gorgeous, though it wasn’t new for Morgan, but Aurora saw herself for the first time in the mirror. She didn’t glance at her attire at first, she noticed her round face. She had a small smile on her face with a dimple on her right cheek. Her glowing skin with small freckles on her cheeks. Her wheat-ish complexion which made her blue eyes stand out. Her long legs and soft palms made her a diva. She wasn’t the only one perplexed with the newness. Meanwhile, Morgan was noticing every small sound. The sound of the slipper when it hits the ground, the sound the door makes while closing, the sound of the graceful wind pushing the curtains on the window, the sound of his own breath, every inhale and every exhale. He heard his own voice, it was deep and charming, it was satisfying to hear his voice, he started weeping, he never thought he would listen to himself. After mesmerized with their own beauties, they shared a glance with each other, they had tears. Tears of success and a new lease on life.

They held hands and the nurses escorted them to a cabin with the doctor sitting with two chairs, a screen and a small speaker. The doctor wished that Aurora & Morgan catch up with the world and its beauty. The doctor said, “You two were living incomplete and compromised lives. I wish that you explore and experience the planet in its true sense with each other and me here in this room because you cannot physically travel around for quite some time. And, we hate waiting for special things. Let’s start! Shall we?”.

The doctor continued, “Aurora, this one’s for you”. He shows them a picture of a tall, dark and charming man looking straight out of an 80s thriller and a fair, healthy, smiling woman, one of the Angels. Her parents. Aurora focused for a couple of seconds and then saw the picture. The doctor said, “I gave you eyes but they gave you the vision. Your Mum and Dad”. Aurora’s hands covered her mouth in shock. She
grabbed Morgan’s hand in excitement and started weeping and joined her prayers as if she was praying to a statue, and of course, Parents are Gods. She couldn’t stop staring at the picture. Aurora begged, “Can I get this picture?”. The doctor nodded in affirmative and calmed her down.

He moved ahead and said, “Morgan my boy, this is a video of your first birthday”. He had set the volume of the speaker according to cautionary standards. Morgan had seen the video but this time he could hear something, it was “Happy Birthday My Cookie! I love you so much and I know that one day you’ll hear this”. The first human voice Morgan heard was of his Mother, and she calls him Cookie. Morgan couldn’t stop smiling and his tears. He wept like it rained on him. He kept his head on Aurora’s shoulder. In the video, he saw his family and cousins singing a melodious tune of Happy Birthday. His Uncle John doing an impression of Donald Duck, had made him chuckle, even though he didn’t know about the character.

He showed Aurora images of her home and the area where she grew up. Aurora saw her playing ground, her apartment’s peach-colored walls and the swings in her lush garden. She looked as if it’s something Martian shown to her. The doctor explained her everything. Morgan was looking at her the whole time, her pure reactions made him excited too. As if even he acquired his vision for the first time.

The doctor put some music on for Morgan. He played Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and said, “Son, this is called music. There are artists for music, this one is Mozart. The god of music. I could’ve played you the music of recent times but that isn’t music, that’s noise. Listen to this”. Morgan was “star-strucked”. He could feel the vibrations entering his newborn ears. He felt his body responding to it, his legs and hands
moved gracefully to the music, he thought, “Maybe this is called dancing, I think”. His eyes were closed, and his breath was slow, but his heart was beating faster. He felt music. He whispered, “Thank you” to the doctor and shook his hands.

Taking the session ahead, the doctor said, “I’ll show you some great events of our world and our history. Aurora starting with you, I am going to show you what we humans have made, which is forever stampedas historic or scenic”. He continued with showing Aurora images. He started with the Earth. He said, “This is us in a picture, this is the Earth and it’s moon. We live inside it. 70% water and 30% land, the blue color is dope”. Aurora’s eyes were wide open now. Then, he showed her the photos of some Wonders of the World: The Tower of Pisa, The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower, The Colosseum, Gardens of Babylon, the Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer Statue, Machu Picchu and Pyramid of Giza. He said, “These are called Wonders of the world. There are usually 7 wonders, but why should we leave other Wonders?”. He also enlightened here a brief story about each. She was shown iconic images of the scenic Europe, Scandinavia, the beautiful beaches of Australia, the mystical and developing Asia, the metropolitan parts of America, the open lands of Africa and the chilliness Antarctica.

He showed her images of the Northern Lights in Norway and said, “Aurora! This is what your name means, light. The one thing which was absent from your life, this is called the Northern Lights, a phenomenon called the “Aurora”. The Green Northern Lights made her feel so beautiful about herself and her name. She woke up again but with faith and power. Further, he presented her pictures of the leader of the world like Einstein, Newton, Nikola Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo and many more.
Aurora was satisfied to see the men who changed mankind’s course in evolution.

Aurora felt strong after observing her race’s achievements. He moved over to Morgan. He said, “Morgan, your turn, you need to hear what mankind is, literally”. To make him hear the mankind at once and in unison. He showed him the video of the launch of world’s first satellite the Sputnik 1, the sound of the Take-Off gifted him goosebumps. The doctor said, “This is the sound of mankind. This is us. This is the sound of progress, which is what humanity is, it’s progress”. He then showed him the Apollo-11 mission, Neil Armstrong and his moon landing. The doctor said, “Morgan, the sounds are similar, but the impact on us human is much different. This sound, of the Apollo 11 spacecraft sent us humans to space for the first time. Biggest leap of progress by us”.

Aurora was seeing this too, for her this was all a rollercoaster ride. She finally saw what she’s been hearing all her life. She was told that she looked like the Moon, now that she saw the Moon finally, she’s not disappointed. She knew wanted Mankind sounded like, but she was flabbergasted on seeing it for the first time.

Doctor showed Morgan a clip of the gigantic and widespread Amazon forest. The doctor said, “Buddy! This is our biggest forest, the Amazon. You’ll hear what nature is, you’ve seen the animals but haven’t heard them. A forest’s voice is the purest of all. You can experience a great blend of water sounds, the bird’s chirping, the rustling of leaves and growls of animals”. Morgan kept his hands on his cheeks and with a glaring curiosity, he listened to everything with unmatched excitement. He looked like as if he is thankful for every bit of his life. His face showed innocence of a three-year old. The doctor said, “On your father’s request as we heard on Day One, here is The Chain by Fleetwood Mac”. Morgan chuckled in excitement. Morgan felt it as a tranquilizer. The 4.5-minute song flourished peace in the room. The beats reflected heartbeats, which synchronized with that of Morgan’s. The song ended. Doctor asked
him, “How was it? It’s your father’s favorite piece of music”. He replied, “It’s good but too slow”. The doctor laughed out loud and joked, “I think you’ll be a “Rock” guy”.

History had a hefty section in the unveiling so far. The doctor stopped for an instant to look at them and said, “The present is messy to be honest. Science is doing its part, but we aren’t co-operating. Politics and our route or way to live life is kind of coming in the way of humanity’s development and planet’ well-being via climate change, epidemics, bombings, shootings and what not, this happened in the past as well but it’s just too....”. The doctor couldn’t finish. Aurora and Morgan’s excitement settled like dust on a desk. Morgan wiped his eyes and stammered, “We got eyes and ears for first time, so we see and hear only good thing”. Due to the deafness Morgan had before, his speech wasn’t a hundred percent developed.

Aurora continued, “He is right. It’s better we offer the positivity and our successes the priority, I feel we all should follow this. Daily we hear disappointments from every direction like rape, bombings, some failure in science, extinction of some animal species, dying children in Ethiopia, droughts in parts of Africa and South Asia, infringing rights of certain minorities and every other negative aspect, that we
forget all the good we’ve done for ourselves”.

Morgan patted on Aurora’s back for her speech. He added, “No focus on bad, I want all to remember good times, it will help in fighting bad times”. The doctor patted on the backs of both this time. In agreement, he replied, “You’re the smartest kids I’ve come across. Both of you are right in every possible sense, we are forgetting and ignoring the positivity, which is the sole weapon to conquer the negativity closing in all around us. Perhaps from today, we can vow to not let negativity drive us all
along, positivity will be the captain of our ships”.

The session ended. The doctor escorted both to their respective rooms. Day Twelve, they were discharged at ten in the morning. Both of their parents were waiting at the center’s gate. The moment Aurora & Morgan stepped out of the center, there was a loud shout “COOKIE!” and Morgan finally turned around with the voice to see both of their parents standing and crying with joy and pride. For the first time, both physically felt the surroundings with every sense. Morgan heard the chaos and Aurora saw the chaos. They showered them with hugs & kisses and were constantly “eyeing” the world.

Morgan’s father jokingly asked him, “Did you listen to Fleetwood Mac?”. Morgan replied, “Yes I did but doctor said I might be a “Rock” guy”. They all laughed hysterically. Aurora looked at his Mom and Dad physically for the first time, she touched their faces and saw their smiles, their tears, their complexions and the dimple on his Mother’s right cheek”. She looked at her Dad and joked, “You have to lose that paunch”, and looking at her Mom she said, “Now I know where I got my dimple from”.

Both the parents congratulated each other. Aurora walked towards Morgan and hugged him for a whole minute and holding his hand she said, “We haven’t spoken even ten words with each other and it’s surreal given that you’re my best buddy because you’re the first friend I ever saw in my life. I’ll miss you and if you ever feel low and find yourself in need of someone to talk to about any problem you’re going
through, keep in mind that you’ll always have me, always. I love you and stay in touch, Morgan”. He felt the same, the feeling was mutual. He was touched by Aurora’s gesture. Wiping his tears, he stammered, “Hi best friend...I...”. Morgan started weeping again and couldn’t express what he wanted to. Aurora hugged him once more, tightly this time.

They sat in their respective cabs with their families and left for their homes. In Morgan’s cab, he stammered, “Mumma you call me cookie I know”. His Mom laughed and replied, “You liked the nickname?”. He was silent for a while then said, “Not bad though”.

– Shlok Mandloi

Writing Competition 2020

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