Years ago, I wrote a short story that I can’t seem to find. No matter, because it remains forever etched in my mind and I’d probably cringe at the writing anyway. At the time, I was fascinated with O’Henry-type endings. The story is about a woman walking down the street when a man with a gun walking behind her yells at her to stop or he’ll shoot. Despite the man’s repeated shouts, she doesn’t turn around. The last line was something to the effect of: “If only the battery in her hearing aid hadn’t died, she would still be alive.”
This has always been one of my fears – that something horrible and preventable will happen to me because of my deafness. Every time I walk through a parking lot, I’m afraid that I’ll get hit by a car I don’t hear. And now with gun violence on the rise in a country where an average of 31 Americans are murdered with guns each day and 151 are treated for a gun assault in an ER (according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence), the scenario I once wrote about could very well come true.
I hope the day will soon come when such an encounter — regardless of hearing loss — will only exist in fiction.