the neighbour

people with sickle cell have banana-shaped blood cells instead of the normal, round blood cells. hence the “abnormal blood” text.

this story is about how i became deaf, and to bring awareness for sickle cell anaemia. english isn’t my first language, i apologise for the mistakes.

it was 1995. my neighbour came to visit. i woke up sick, i didn't go to school, i missed the big yellow school bus, my favourite moment of the day. it would be there at 8h42 every morning.

i was alone with M, i was weak, feverish, i couldn't feel my legs. i try to get up to drink some water. *thud* i fall. i’m 8 years old and i don’t know what happens when you don’t feel your legs. now i know. you get hurt like a mofo.

i tell M i want to watch TV. i’m 8 years old, i don’t want to just lie down and do nothing. i’m bored. she takes me to the basement. the basement is where the fun things are: films, my passe-partout figures. i lie down, i decide to watch mighty ducks 2. i love this movie. M leaves.

my neighbour tells me i am tired. no, now is not the time. luis mendoza is showing us how fast he can skate…and his inability to brake. but i still loved luis mendoza, he was my favourite player (i believed the mighty ducks were a real team, and that gordon bombay was a real coach.)

then i notice something weird. the sound in the TV was weird. it was as if we were underwater, in a swimming pool. i tell M. i say i can’t hear anything. she starts saying sentences, i correctly repeat said sentences, she says “eveything’s okay then” and leaves.

my neighbour becomes insistant. she says that if i sleep, i won’t be hurting anymore, i will be better, i will be in enough good shape to be able to see the big yellow school bus at 8h42 in the morning. so i obey and fall asleep. the ducks were playing against iceland. i knew they would lose 12–1 and that gordon bombay would rip everyone’s heads off in the locker room.

when i open my eyes, the TV is showing the film’s credits. it’s completely silent. i feel slightly better? i sit, make some noise…it’s still completely silent. i think my neighbour lied to me…she tricked me. i am not better. i slowly go upstairs. i go to M’s room. i tell her i can’t hear anything anymore. nothing.

i never saw the big yellow school bus, ever again.
i never heard anything, ever again.

my neighbour in this story is sickle cell anaemia.

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