With so many of us making our first blog posts, I’ve been feeling a little sentimental about the first homework exercise I took part in with the group back in 2012. Nicky gave us the prompt ‘There is a hearing aid whining on the kitchen table’ to write from and the stories that came back were incredibly varied: Irene’s eventually turned into a much larger story all about the young boy whose character was generated by the exercise — part of which is included in our anthology — and I particularly remember Sue’s story, told from the perspective of a disgruntled hearing aid that had been left behind by its blissfully oblivious owner! I shared these two small pieces — one poem, one prose — from the exercise that, although they will never be my best work, remind of the day I remembered that I can write and the confidence that gives me.
There is a hearing aid whining on the kitchen table, still spinning where she left it just moments before when she walked out of the room, and out of the back door. Dad hasn’t even noticed, he’s still raving on as he washes up. I can’t blame Nan, he just won’t shut up about all the things he has to do for her, and all the things he thinks she should be doing for herself. He never once stops to talk to her and just ask how she is. He needs a session with my careers advisor; learn a bit about active listening at least.
The hearing aid was his idea. He kept shouting when Nan wasn’t listening and nagging her to get a check-up in the vain presumption that she wanted to listen to him, and wasn’t just zoning out. Eventually he got her one for Christmas and expected her to be grateful for it because he’d spent so much money – never mind that she didn’t want one. But she had duly worn it and now had no excuse for not listening to his tirade of suggestions about how to live her life. I can imagine how that makes her feel, she’s not the only one he tries to organise. I know it’s well meant but at times I envy Nan, at least she’s allowed to close her door!
It can’t have been easy for her, giving up her independence like that; can’t have been easy asking her child for help. Dad just doesn’t see it though. It was never a question of if he’d help her, of course he would, he really does love her, but how and what he will do for her are still up for debate. Nan knows she must adapt to his lifestyle, knows she must now follow our family’s path, but that’s no reason to stop seeing her as an individual, to treat her like a burden. And now; now she’s just walked out, and her side of the conversation about her life has become so inconsequential to him that he’s not even noticed. Maybe I should say something, but maybe he wouldn’t care what I thought either. So I just sit back, watching the hearing aid spinning on the table, whining in the background; an accompaniment to Dad’s one man manifesto.
There’s a hearing aid whining on the kitchen table
Attached to my Aunt, face down in the trifle.
It seems that the Merlot ran out just too soon
In the fifteen minutes while I left the room;
So, for want of a bottle, she deemed it best
To top herself up with cooking Sherry instead!
Now well pickled, preserved and soused in grape
Sound asleep in my pudding, I leave her prostrate.