HYSTERIA…A Memoir

I was 7 when I lost my hearing.

That Saturday sixteen years back, I woke up and needed nobody to tell me that while I slept, something had gone horribly wrong.

Usually, I was woken by Daniel’s high pitched laugh. My kid brother, two years younger had a voice like a boombox gone haywire. And as the baby of the family, he could get away with it, too.

But, this Saturday, what woke me was a tap. Martha’s tap. I opened my eyes and stared at my eldest sister, her mouth was moving but she wasn’t saying anything. I remember being amused at Martha talking without words. I remember thinking, anti Matty no fit talk, e just dey open mouth like cow.

Except, it wasn’t my sister. It was me. I could sense that as I walked outside to pee on the dew-beaten grass by our house.

I could sense it as I watched a cock crow without a sound.

As I watched a motorcycle go by as silent as a breeze.

I was too little to understand what had happened then. In my Micky Mouse world, I thought the world had gone crazy. Everybody dey mad.

Except it was my world that had gone to Wacky Country.

Overnight I had became something, and I didn’t even know what it was.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

It was my mother who first noticed something was wrong with her boy.

She was fetching water into a large drum which once housed DDT. I was playing in the passage. An imaginary Atlanta ’96 olympics semi-final between Nigeria and Brazil. I was running round the passage, dribbling the heck out of the Samba boys and yelling ‘aaaahhhhhh’ when Durga tackled me too hard. I didn’t notice my mother coming and going. I didn’t see her gestures as she passed.

I didn’t know she was telling me to go inside.

Poor Ma, for her, it was just another unusual Saturday. Even my apparent disregard of her instruction wasn’t odd, as, of all my three brothers, na Hymar no dey hear word pass.

Sometimes I laugh at the pun. The irony there. It was the child they said ‘too no dey hear word’ that has suddenly stopped hearing not only their words, but, all the words in the world.

The next time my mother passed me, she didn’t waste her words. She gave me a resounding knock on the head that jolted me,temporarily giving me a K-leg as my knees knocked together and I raised my head to stare into her face.

She stood before me with the bowl of water on her head. Her mouth was working and she made irritated sweeping gestures wit her hand. I stared into her face, willing her to make sense. feeling aggrieved.

Feeling like an outsider in a world which had changed, moved on and left me behind.

Later I realised that as I stared at my mother, even though I couldn’t hear her words, I knew what she meant. I knew what she wanted.

Why didn’t I go in then?

I don’t know. I guess it was at that moment that I realised the severity, the depths of whatever had happened to me. I just stood there staring at a face that suddenly started to change before my eyes.

The irritation gave way to anger, which hardened her features. Then perplexity replaced anger as her face drained of meaning and took on a puzzled stare, her mouth shaped into an O of incomprehension. Then, finally, understanding came.

But instead of lightening her features, this new knowledge twisted it into something agonizing. Something mortal. The basin flew from her head like an unwanted burden, its thwuck! echoing like a stiffled thunder as the plastic connected with the concrete floor, water spreading in a journey of no return on the earth.

Then the ragged edges of hysteria gripped my mother.

And she began to scream in a voice that was lost to me as I stood there staring at the faces that suddenly crowded the passage. Staring at faces that had suddenly became strange to me. Staring at face after face like a lost soul with no where else to go.



27 thoughts on “HYSTERIA…A Memoir” by Hymar (@Hymar)

  1. sad. Good naration. Lyk an excerpt

  2. Not really an excerpt, just a glimpse. Thanks

  3. The part about the knock on the head reminded me how easy it really is to judge someone before knowing their story.
    The telling was somewhat unemotional, like it wasn’t a personal experience. Maybe, that was your intention, though.. To get to the facts without the drama.
    However, it raises questions for me. E.g. What were Hymar’s feelings @ the time? What did he go through? How did he cope? ‘Cos this is a big deal for anybody. So, for a child….

  4. @Olaedo…uh, well, u r so ryt about d judging bit but then It s not easy not to judge when contrary assumptions are staring u in d face. And again u guessed correctly that Hymar tried to detach himself from d telling. I guess I didn’t wanna get too emotionally involved. And as for how Hymar felt then, well try GRIEVED. SCARED TO DEATH. DELUSIONAL TO D POINT OF HAVING NIGHTMARES AND SEEING THINGS. EVIL THINGS IN ALMOST EVERYTHING

  5. pimples (@pimples)

    I hope u have a part 2 in store. It would be good to know what later happened to Hymar and what actually caused his deafness…

  6. Flat telling, mixed-up words. ok.

  7. @Dimples, oh sorry, @Pimples,maybe tomorrow,,,u never know. And yeah. @Engineer, Hymar had to distance himself from that child na.

  8. i love this, I’m actually writing a novel, a love story about a deaf boy and a girl he meets. It was inspired by a friend’s five year old child who is actually deaf. For a long time, my friend thought her son was just being stubborn, but they later discovered that he is deaf.

    Good work.

  9. @Olufunmilola, whew,I once tried that storyline but my big sister hated d novel(lol) so much I got rid of it. Thanks for your kind words. Hope d novel is comin on strong.

  10. So this story will make me race in the second edition shey? I’m also guessing you can now hear…

  11. @Daireen…sadly I still don’t hear. And I dunno about d 2nd release. I dunno o

  12. Good narration.

    … as silent as A BREEZE ______ ought to be BREEZE. Uncountable nouns do not take the indefinite articles.

  13. @supremo, thank u but u seem to forget we are talking literature not flawless grammar

  14. Apt description, well written. @hymar don’t you think “its thwuck! echoing like a stiffled thunder” is contradictory under the presented circumstances, considering that the child can no more hear at this point. And you’re doing good sire! Big up…

  15. @Excellency, good point but i was close enough for the force of that crash to resound like an echo in my head. Just as i can hear thunder, gunshots and extremely loud sounds

    1. Okay, I now understand.

  16. Good story…but I don’t want it to end there..there are questions begging for answers. I love this;

    The irritation gave way to anger, which hardened her features. Then perplexity replaced anger as her face drained of meaning and took on a puzzled stare, her mouth shaped into an O of incomprehension. Then, finally, understanding came.

  17. …smiling…@shomyk..maybe one day u will read my autobiography. By d way anoda excerpt, Hysteria2 might help ur curiosity…provided u don’t get a bullet in d head…laughs.

  18. hmmmmmmmmm. good job.

  19. A little problem here… “The basin
    flew from her head like an unwanted
    burden, its thwuck! echoing like a stiffled
    thunder as the plastic connected with the
    concrete floor”… Is he not supposed to be deaf?

    A good piece sir! Cheers…

  20. @Ayomidotun. I have already explained that. Read previous comments

  21. You know despite the memoir tag, some people would read and be like ‘dis ting na fiction abeg. how pesin wey no dey hear go dey write?’
    Keep standing tall, Hymar. You shall reach the sky even if you don’t hear the wind.
    Thanks for giving me a glimpse into your life.
    Well done. $ß.

  22. @sibbylwhyte, am so like….awwwwwwwww….tears up…..

  23. Well done, @Hymar. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but i’m going to look for Hysteria 2.

  24. That’s nice of u @Kay9. I am humbled you would bother.

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