Thursday, September 28, 2017

A World without Music

A World Without Music
By Michael Cannata  

Wide awake, he swayed slowly to the rhythm that coursed through his dream. He stood in his corner of the ward alone, as always, while the radio played. A vibrant beat drummed deep inside him. He felt a part of the music that no one else seemed to sense. He uttered a vague melody without meaning, in a voice that knew no words.

He had been born deaf and mute. As far as anyone knew he had never heard any sounds at all. What voice he did have was a mixture of grunts and gargles. When people spoke to him he felt nothing, and heard less. He never spoke in all the years he lived in the home. All he could feel was music.

When he first arrived, he was a difficult patient to deal with. He'd been placed there when his family had decided he was too much to care for at home. Soon, the staff began to notice a change whenever they played music in the background. Once the music began he would find his way to his corner and stand entranced as the strains washed over him.

At times, he would stir and break into what could loosely be called a dance that only he knew. Hopping about in a frenzy of gyrations or gracefully gliding across the floor. In the quiet hours of the night, as the patients lay in their beds, his voice took on a soft crooning. The erratic mutterings of the day slowed. His cries became calls. His wails became whispers. For many patients, it was the lullaby that helped them sleep.

The staff discovered that whenever a musical instrument was played he would turn and make his way closer to it; even when he couldn’t see where it was. It was as though it’s very presence, the vibrations it made, reached out and connected to him somehow.

He could sense the passion or excitement in the song. His body quivered or swooned in time in a magical and mysterious connection that no one else seemed to experience. He didn’t move to the music. It was the music that moved him. For most people, music was something they heard. For him, music was something he could feel. It wasn’t heard with his ears, but felt in his soul.

In a world without music, he was surrounded by song.

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