On Reading Lips And Different Faces – Hysteria 2


We take a lot of things for granted.
We even whine about these things. I remember someone telling me once that he can’t stand his neighbour. Too noisy, he said. I had smiled and said, ‘Want to trade places with me? I won’t mind the noise so much. ‘
That fixed him.
As a little boy, I had to adapt to whatever changes losing my hearing neccesited. I had been cut off from d auditory world and chronologically it was a struggle as I later discovered when I tried to talk that my voice sounded funny. It was like there was this big bone in my throat that was impeding the smooth flow of words. Most times it was a struggle to get me to talk. My parents and neighbours were understandably apprehensive that if I didn’t put it to use, I would lose my speaking ability too. So, they refused to take my nods and shruggs for answers and would say, ‘Open your mouth and talk. Open your mouth and talk.’
My father was the worst, he would stare at me with his piercing eyes and say with a gesture,’talk, my friend.’
So I talked.
Even when my throat felt like it had been scraped raw, I talked.
Even though they couldn’t always understand my words. I talked.
I developed an habit of staring intently at the faces of whoever spoke to me. My eyes never left their faces. I would watch the movement of their lips, trying to figure out the words I couldn’t hear. My family understood this and spoke slowly with accompanying gestures.
Of course, I don’t always get the words right. Sometimes it’s funny that even today, when I think of it, I laugh so hard that my girlfriend will speaking in tongues, invoking thunder and brimstone to cast out the spirit of insanity out of me.
I laugh when I recall the time my mother said, ‘Hymar, go baff’ and I had gone and fetched her a big basin. A baff in pidgin.
Like when a generator repairer had come to work on our faulty gen, and he had told me to go bring him engine oil and instead I went and brought palm oil to the dumbstruck man, causing my brother Dan to start cracking up.
It wasn’t easy but looking back, I am thankful I had a supportive family. Even today, I am still the baby of the family, the one you can’t mess with and get away with it. Whenever my siblings and I quarrelled, their commonest comeback to my abuse was always, ‘Mama’s pickin.’
Well, that’s sibling rivalry for you.
At school, I wasn’t doing too good. It was kind of strange because I once topped the class consistently and was the ‘monitor’ of the class{monitor, monitor, ito melo ni e to ni ale yi? My brothers used to tease.} In English:monitor, monitor, how many times did you to(wet) the bed last night?
But, when my father allowed me to resume, man, I bombed the subjects. It was like Hymar’s gone and the new me was just an airhead who couldn’t even add three plus five in primary two!
I tried to read the teacher’s lips but she spoke too fast and was so far away to really see her lips. Though to her credit, she often came over to give me an extra hand, it was no use. It was as if I had lost the ability to learn along with my hearing. It took me till senior secondary to get it back. That’s right,back folks, it took me ten years before I could top the class again.
I grew an extrovert. I didn’t exactly have a lot of friends but I had quite a number. When I wasn’t with them, I would read. Stories. My father’s Classical Greek Literature texts. My first story was Sugar Girl then Burning Grass by Cyprain Ekwensi(God rest him).
My friends never saw any big deal in my condition. The beauty about kids is they don’t really know how to discriminate. Unless you teach them to… Of course, there are some really cruel kids who would do funny stuff to mock you. Like putting leaves between their lips(whatever that means, sef) but then that is what makes them kids. They don’t know any better.
All my life, I have never been to a special school or enrolled in a special programme. I don’t even know sign language. I refused to learn and thankfully my Father wasn’t big on it either. I wanted to be like everyone else, I didn’t want…cant stand preferential treatment. If the teacher at school or the coach in my football team let me get away while punishing the others, I would feel upset.
And when people try to talk to me using signs, I would just walk away. Or look them right in the eyes and say, ‘talk or walk. I haven’t got all day.’
School? Well, I wasn’t always the brightest in the class but I always held my own. The teachers know me but thankfully they don’t give a jack. I am self-taught or if I may say life-taught. people say you learn by what you hear. Me,I I learn by seeing. I learn by whatever life brings my way. And most of the times, life can be a mean, old fart.
But so what? Like I like to tell people, life happens. Live it or leave it.
The choice is always yours.

7 thoughts on “On Reading Lips And Different Faces – Hysteria 2” by Hymar (@Hymar)

  1. Oops. I just noticied some typos. I cry yo’ pardon, folks.

  2. Thanks for this. Learned a handful.

  3. @babyada,good to know. Thanks for taking d tym to let me know

  4. dis is beautful…thougt-provoking

  5. Thankyhu @gabbletalker

  6. Your courage in giving a middle finger to life’s bomb, Hymar, deserves an applause. *clap clap*

    well done. $ß.

  7. Laughs. Wow. That is nice of ya. *Takes a bow*. @sibbylwhyte

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