Excerpt from BUT YOU LOOK SO NORMAL: Misplaced and Present in a Listening to World 


Excerpt from BUT YOU LOOK SO NORMAL: Misplaced and Discovered in a Listening to World 

by Claudia Marseille 

PROLOGUE  (977 phrases)

It was the day of the citywide elementary and center faculty observe meet, and I used to be elated that I’d made the reduce, one in every of solely two college students at our college. At age eleven, I used to be a superb athlete and really quick, and I used to be thrilled to have the prospect to compete in opposition to different sixth and seventh graders from throughout Berkeley. I’d educated onerous for today. For weeks after faculty my instructor, a soccer coach, drilled my pal Mark and me onerous on our college playground, yelling at us to dash quicker, quicker! Day after day I pushed more durable and more durable as I raced Mark—the one child in our college who may run quicker than I—and I may really feel myself getting higher. I additionally trusted Mark to assist me navigate the listening to world. Like my brother Elliot, Mark was very attuned to me. On the playground he confronted me straight and clearly repeated what had been stated, rigorously explaining the place we have been to line up, how far we’d be operating, and who had taken first, second, and third place.

Now standing within the heart of the sphere, I surveyed the bustling scene, and to my shock I didn’t see anybody I knew. Athletes carrying their faculty colours stretched out on the grass or jogged in place, excited households settled into their seats within the bleachers, coaches with clipboards dashed right here and there. My coronary heart thumped in anticipation of the second once I’d launch from the beginning line with the pack of runners, dash neck and neck alongside different contestants fiercely decided to beat me, after which, lastly, stretch into the end to interrupt the tape. That morning, I fixed my cumbersome listening to support with an additional strap to make sure it wouldn’t fall off from the place it was clipped to my undershirt. I used to be prepared.

I used to be longing for my mom and father to see how briskly I may run, and I appeared throughout, anxious to identify them within the crowd. Looking the obtrusive scorching steel bleachers, I lastly noticed them sitting throughout the sphere from one another. Their fraught divorce had left them with no want to take a seat collectively, even to point out united assist for me. My father appeared grim and formal in his darkish wool go well with, and he wore a handkerchief on his head, every nook tied with a knot, which created a kooky little hat to guard him from the solar. I watched him wipe sweat from his brow and puzzled, why on Earth would he put on a heavy go well with on such a scorching day? Far throughout the sphere from him sat my mom, trying cool and chic regardless of the sweltering warmth, fumbling for one thing in her purse.

Within the distance, I noticed a coach yelling directions into an orange megaphone as sprinters started to line up for races, however I couldn’t perceive a phrase he stated. I had educated at my acquainted elementary faculty playground, and I used to be completely unprepared for the way the observe meet would unfold on this unfamiliar place. I nonetheless didn’t see anybody I acknowledged, and I started to panic. Was one in every of my occasions simply now about to start out? The place ought to I’m going? Mark! I assumed. Mark will inform me what to do, the place to go. Frantically, I whipped my head round on the lookout for him, however he was nowhere to be discovered. Then, as children began operating, I stood frozen, somewhat statue in the midst of the sphere as races whirled round me. Coaches darted about, herding children and lining up racers. Athletes whizzed previous me as they took their locations, ran their races, and whooped with pleasure once they received. However no one requested if I wanted assist. Nobody appeared to note that for nearly an hour I hadn’t moved from the place I stood inflexible on the observe.

Lastly, it was throughout. As everybody streamed off the sphere, I noticed my father within the distance, slinking away via the far exit. My mom was ready for me by the bleachers, and we walked slowly in direction of the automobile. She appeared involved. “Why didn’t you run in any of the races?” she requested.

I burst into tears. “I’d no concept the place to line up! I couldn’t perceive the person with the megaphone or what any of the youngsters have been saying.”

My mom nodded and murmured sympathetically, however that was the tip of the dialog. From the bleachers, each of my mother and father had sat and watched me simply stand there. Why hadn’t they run throughout the sphere, grabbed me, and guided me to an grownup in cost? Why didn’t no less than one in every of them acknowledge that I used to be in hassle and wanted assist? And now that the humiliating occasion was over, there was no exploration of what had occurred, why I used to be so misplaced, and what may be executed to spare me such disgrace sooner or later.

As my mom drove us dwelling, I cried quietly within the seat subsequent to her and gazed out the window on the fixed exercise and clamor that made it so troublesome for me to listen to or perceive folks round me. A bike roared in entrance of us, a bus screeched to a halt to our left, a truck beeped insistently because it backed up on our proper. Every time I used to be amidst these sorts of metropolis sounds, all I may hear was the super clamor. And more often than not, inside areas weren’t significantly better; as I sat subsequent to my mom, the rumble of our automobile made it nearly unimaginable to know her until she turned to face me, which she couldn’t do whereas driving. Tears ran down my cheeks as I noticed, as soon as once more, how terribly alone I used to be. Each day I struggled to know. There was a lot I used to be lacking. In the meantime, nearly no one was listening.

© 2024 Claudia Marseille


At age 4, Claudia Marseille was identified with a extreme listening to loss.  With dedication and the assistance of highly effective listening to aids, she discovered to listen to, converse and lipread. She was mainstreamed in public faculties in Berkeley, CA. After incomes grasp’s levels in archaeology and in public coverage, and eventually an MFA, she developed a profession in pictures and portray, a occupation appropriate with a listening to loss. Claudia ran a effective artwork portrait pictures studio for fifteen years earlier than changing into a full-time painter. Her work are represented by the Seager Grey gallery in Mill Valley, CA, and may be seen at www.claudiamarseille.com.  

She has performed classical piano a lot of her life; in her free time she likes to learn, watch films, journey, spend time with pals, and attend live shows and artwork reveals. She and her husband stay in Oakland and have one grown daughter. 

Discover out extra about her memoir, However You Look So Regular: Misplaced and Present in a Listening to World, due out in Could from She Writes Press, at www.claudiamarseilleauthor.com, www.fb.com/Claudiamarseilleauthor, www.instagram.com/claudiamarseille,   www.linkedin.com/in/claudia-maseille-49620384


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