Sophie pulled her hoodie up over head to try to stop the noise. It didn’t help. She put both hands on the side of her head and pressed on her ears. Again, it didn’t help. She knew it was coming from inside of her head. She knew that only she could hear it. But she just wanted it to stop.
Sophie used to be able to ignore it when she first experienced it. It would only enter her consciousness when she thought about it. Or when it was very, very quiet where she was. Or when she didn’t get much sleep and was tired.
But lately the noise was constant and almost unbearable. Sophie went to see her doctor, who referred her to an otolaryngologist, who referred her to a neurologist. But each patiently explained that there was nothing they could do about it, no known cure, and she’d just have to learn to live with it.
Sophie worried that her electronics — her laptop, her smartphone, her Alexa, her smart TV, her internet, her WiFi, her microwave oven — were causing the constant noise inside of her head. She decided to off grid and to rent a cabin in the woods. No laptop, no smartphone, no Alexa, no TV, no internet, no microwave. Just nature.
After a few weeks, the noise inside her head diminished, and after a month it disappeared completely. Sophie was ecstatic. They told her there was no cure for tinnitus, but now it was gone. It was a miracle.
Sophie decided to go home to her apartment in the city. She turned on her laptop, her smartphone, her TV, her WiFi. Within just a few hours the noise inside her head returned. But this time it was different. It wasn’t just inside her head. It was all around her.
It was children being massacred in their schools, worshippers being shot in their churches and temple, workers being shot at their workplace. It was the insensitivity of her elected officials with respect to passing any common sense gun control legislation, to dealing with environmental issues, to women’s rights, to racism, to health care, to education. She recognized that there could be a cure for the noises inside her head. Inside of all of our heads.
Sophie realized that those who had the power and the means to affect a cure had no interest in doing so. All they focused on was their unenlightened self-interests. They were responsible for her anguish.
Written for Sadje’s What Do You See prompt. Photo credit: Muhammed Hassan @ Unsplash.