“Do you hear that?” Chris twisted around in his seat and scanned the living room. Everything appeared to be as it was a few seconds ago- which was strange. “I swear I heard it again… didn’t you?” he looked over at his wife Tabitha and tried to read her expression.
Tabitha stared at her husband and forced herself to maintain a placid, calm expression. Considering Chris had completely lost his mind, she was considerably proud of her ability to keep her composure these last two weeks. Initially, she had thought her husband was suffering from a sudden onslaught of tinnitus when Chris complained about the ‘chirping’ as he described it. When the chirping didn’t go away after two days they decided to visit an Ear, Nose & Throat specialist who could find nothing physically wrong with Chris- other than the obvious symptoms of sleep deprivation. Eight physicians, psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists later, the diagnosis, while shaky, was given and while Tabitha hadn’t understood the term used she understood the underlying meaning- Chris had suffered a complete mental collapse and the wall between reality and delusions had crumbed in his mind.
“What did it sound like, darling?” Tabitha replied in measured tones.
“It was the chirping again, but this time… I don’t know, this time it almost sounded like words,” Chris tilted his head to the left as if to hear better, and held his breath.
“It’s getting worse,” Tabitha thought despondently. They had told her it would, but she didn’t want to believe the doctors. They had also told her that if Chris began hearing voices, it would be time to check him into a 24 hour care facility where he could receive the care (and supervision) his increasingly worsening condition required. She already had a bag packed for him in the car.
Several weeks later, during one of their regularly scheduled visits, Tabitha did a quick inventory of her husband’s appearance and knew something would need to improve, and soon, or she was in real jeopardy of losing Chris. Disheveled and with several days’ worth of stubble, wearing a mint green pair of scrubs, Chris looked like a shadow of his former self. The chirping had become a voice, and it was never silent for more than a few minutes. Sleep was impossible without chemical assistance, leaving Chris disoriented, hollow-eyed and listless. “Don’t worry, babe, you’re going to get better,” Tabitha heard herself say and knew neither of them believed it.
Sitting snuggly inside Chris’ noggin, Jiminy Cricket shook his head sadly. He had been trying for weeks to communicate with this lug, and where did it get him? In the loony bin, that’s where. All he needed was for Chris to listen for one minute, to understand his purpose in the world and he would hop right out and Bob’s-your-uncle be on to the next lucky chap who was in need of a conscience. “I’m getting too old for this… give me a wooden boy any day over these supposed ‘modern men’,” Jiminy thought gloomily.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Last night, as I lay in bed attempting to get some shut eye, the loudest cricket EVER took up residence outside the bedroom window and proceeded to serenade us for the entire night and into the wee hours of this morning. Besides being a bit annoyed, I have to admit I was impressed with the little guy’s dedication and endurance, I mean what must it be like to ‘sing’ or ‘chirp’ or whatever you want to call it for close to 8 hours straight?
TWO: Today my ears will not stop popping as I continue to get over my cold. I hate and love the sensation all at once- the instant clarity it awards and then the inevitable stuffed-cotton effect that follows. I literally walked around all day yawning in an attempt to keep popping my ears, which actually came pretty naturally since I didn’t get a lot of sleep thanks to a certain cricket.
Love & Squirrels.