The Grandeur of Silence

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a patient suffering from LIS or Pseudo-coma...alive but like a corpse...her desire of living...the short story portrays the mindset and mental strength of a woman with whole of her body paralysed...

Submitted: December 30, 2011

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Submitted: December 30, 2011

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The grandeur of silence

“I lived my life,

Amidst a blaring echo…

Driving through me,

Was a gloomy sorrow…

But there’s a void in b/w,

That had a majestic essence…

Bestowing a belief unseen,

On the Grandeur of Silence….”

‘Pseudo-coma’, ‘Locked-In Syndrome’ or ‘Ventral Pontine Lesion’; whatever term Medical professionals give to her condition, only Zara knew how she felt…caged and imprisoned within her stagnant body. 3 years have gone pass and extraordinarily she had endured this rather grievous condition. With only her eye muscles working and rest paralyzed, any normal guy will assume her a corpse while she is asleep; and when she would be awake only her eyes seemed to be alive. However, to their pity (as per Zara it was their pity, not her), she was more alive if not equal than such stupid morons who came to see her. Her senses were nowhere less than any other human although occasionally she had her episodes of blackouts. But the funny attribute of it was that she also had an unusual neurological condition; what these white-clad people seem to say after almost 2 years of ‘her’ perceiving, ‘the Low latent inhibition’. She knew how this condition worked. Overdeveloped senses! Even a slightest tinge of sound hammered as a blaring echo for her and she had developed hawk eyes. Plausibly, it developed due to lack of any other means of body to communicate with the outside world.

Although she hated the word Pseudo-coma, her family (and Doctors while referring her condition to them) used it. For her, it was a pessimistic term that exaggerated her condition. She wasn’t in close proximity to death for sure. She could think, feel and sense the world often better than anyone she had ever seen to visit her since last 3 years. So, she preferred to use LIS as an abbreviation to her condition although obviously she could never say it. The doctors used it while talking to themselves. It made her feel important, professional but in the same time not at all piteous. Her amalgamated condition of LIS plus Low Latent Inhibition (what she referred to as the ‘Gift’) was like a thrill to her Doctors. It felt good and amusing to her.

A caring mother and her cute baby brother that was all she could think of her family. Well, he wasn’t a baby now. Her brother, Sharik was now 15 years old and had started to see girls. It felt nice when he showed his girlfriends to her for approval. But all she can do was blink. Well, her blinking wasn’t useless for sure. The very first thing that she had to learn, subsequently after the onset of her condition, was the Morse code. It was a tedious job with her mother reciting every lesson and initially she approved of understanding it by only a blink. But gradually she loved the language of blinking developed by the coded messaging. It was sheer fun.

How she become this so-called living corpse? Well it ensued consequently after her Car accident. The doctor said a thrombus or clot had formed and migrated to her so-called Basilar artery causing hemorrhage. They operated upon but since any lesion or damage to the brain couldn’t be corrected, she was locked-in pseudo-coma. Obviously it was all told to her after she gained conscious. Well, at first it was atrocious but gradually she got used to it. She started reading books mostly pertaining to medicine in an attempt to understand what had happened to her. Then, she shifted to literature. It was all made possible by her caring mother who assembled an analogue apparatus that placed the book directly in front of her eyes at an adequate distance. The hardest part was when she had finished reading the page and wanted to turn over it. She would have to wait until someone will realize this and flip for her. Often she felt like a burden but she ignored such thoughts.

After a year, her ‘Gift’ appeared. She became extensively fast in reading, observing and anything else. She felt as if she was a Genius. Apparently everything around her was easy to understand. However, her Gift came with a big bane. She felt over-sensitized. Often even something like a drop of needle hammered her like an earthquake. Although gradually, she got used to it but she could never disregard it. Whenever, the doctors came to view her charts and scribbled over with their pens, it felt agonizing. What she heard was like a group of carpenters working with their saw over a big piece of wood. It was nuts and earsplitting.

The best part of her routine was her sleep. Although because of her ‘Gift’, it was hard to sleep but her doctors gave her Tranquillizers. Artificially generated but well it was nice to sleep. She dreamt almost every time about a beach. It

always was a silent and pristine beach, totally devoid of any kind of clamor or adulterations. The only voice she could listen to was of the slithering of water waves over each other. Often she hummed a song or two. She walked over the beach leaving her footprints on the sand. The waves will come over and wash them away. She often thought what it meant metaphorically. Maybe whatever act we do in the past, if left alone undisturbed, will get washed away by the wave of time. The silence of the beach was adorable. It was divergent, to a large extent, to what she heard while awake. In her dream world she knew nothing of the LIS or Low Latent Inhibition. What she was aware of was the water, the sand and most importantly, the silence. It was a place where she could think and feel mesmerizing. She could feel the Grandeur of Silence.

*** ***

Dr. Ralph, the youngest of the doctors appointed to her was all she craved for. He was hilarious and somehow knew when she felt joy or sorrow only by looking into her eyes, pondering over them. He must have been equal to her age although his childish and innocent eyes made him look younger. His brownish black hairs were never parted correctly. He had unusually psychotic blue eyes always moving around. But it always added to his charm. Whenever he came to visit her not as a Doctor but as a friend, he held her hand. All she aspired at that point of time was hug him tightly. Embrace him, kiss him and love him. But she knew she could never do that. LIS was for in no doubt incurable, and she knew it was useless to have hope for recovery. It was just matter of time when she will die. Almost 90% cases of LIS die within first 4 months. By these statistics, she was a warrior and it felt grand.

Death was perhaps the most thought after topic for her. She knew she will soon face it. Well, everybody has to face it but she was different. She can feel it coming. Surprisingly, it never petrified her. She had an unusual desire to live, although quite common among LIS patients. She knew she was alive and wanted to remain that way for as long as possible. For her, death was the definitive destination of every person. She never felt alleged to the concept of heaven or hell. For her, death leads to a sublime sense of oneness with God. Anything what we refer to as punishment for our sins came up only during death. For her, Guilt was the ultimate punishment. So, she wanted to live life as much as she can, averting any kind of guilt that could creep into her psyche. She was in love with life to the utmost.

She would never forget that day when her mother asked whether she desired Euthanasia. Shocking as it was, the very concept of it was repulsive for her. She knew it could be noble for some. Euthanasia had never been evil or holy concept for her in general. It depends upon the condition and as for her, it was sordid. She was far too young to die. So, she long-blinked once then blinked quickly, waited and long-blinked thrice. Dah-dit Dah-dah-dah. Her mother knew she said ‘No’. For the first time, a tinge of guilt struck her as she was nothing but a burden to her mother. But, her mother smiled and her mother’s eyes made her realize she had just empowered her mother with a confidence on her.

*** ***

She was waiting fervently for Saturday when Dr. Ralph came to visit her alone. Apart from her mother and brother, he was the only person to be allowed to visit her alone. But today, apart from the customary flowers, he carried something with him. No normal person could have noticed but her Gift did. He kept the flowers just aside her and looked into her eyes. She tried to smile by her eyes back. But, there was something unusual. His eyes were full of pity… pity for her incurable condition… it was a pity without logic. She sensed his eyes and tried to convey that she had no remorse, guilt or hatred to God. She knew something was wrong. He emptied his Apron and showed a vial and a syringe. He glanced at her ‘Intravenous’ dripping her nutrient solution. He emptied the contents of the vial into the pouch of the solution. She could sense what he was doing. She could sense the psychopathic eyes of him. But she couldn’t do anything about them.

She could sense a dip in her consciousness. Finally death was coming. Her life-support was showing warnings and she prayed for the sound to penetrate the thick walls around her but it couldn’t. Her ECG was dipping but she was too helpless. Ralph held her hand but this time she wanted to slap him not hug. Her eyes showed fright and fear. But Ralph was too adamant to notice, he just held her hand and prayed.

She knew it was now of no use. She couldn’t struggle. She felt what she had always feared… hatred to God. Death had brought her hell. Ralph had presented her what she had always prevented… a pessimist death. Every drop of the drip she could hear made her worse and her Gift again became a bane. Blackouts came and went just amplifying the wait for the eternal blackout. It felt like someone slapped you once then embraced you, and again slapped you. For the first time she felt pathetic for her permanent silence.

And suddenly, she was gone…into her beach forever…feeling eternally, the Grandeur of the silence at the end she averted.

-----Vishal Arora


© Copyright 2017 vishal arora. All rights reserved.

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