Bzzz. There’s that sound again. Bzzz. Bzzz. You shake your head, like you could shake the sound out of your ears. Bzzz. That sound, a harsh, metallic buzz that makes your teeth tingle and your stomach turn. Bzzz. It comes from everywhere and nowhere, out of the air, out of your own ears. Bzzz. When did you first hear it? Hard to remember now, it was so long ago. Did you notice it at first? Bzzz. Some vague memory of trying to take a spelling test in elementary school, distracted by the noise. Bzzz. Was it new then? You can’t remember. Bzzz. Bzzz. One thing’s for sure, it’s been with you a long time now. Bzzz. You used to try to describe it. One night asked your mother if she heard it. Bzzz. “What do you mean, sweetie?” she’d said, with the strangest look of sad, puzzled panic barely concealed on her face. “Nothing!” you yelled, in a voice too loud, too cheerful. “Never mind!” Already running away. Bzzz. Bzzz. It didn’t take long to figure out no one else heard it. Later, as a young adult, you worked up the nerve to ask a doctor about it, when you were at an appointment for something else. Bzzz. “I did want to ask you one thing,” you managed, just before the doctor left the tiny room. Bzzz. Bzzz. “I have this sound–this buzzing–I hear it sometimes.” That same look of confusion, worry, and something else. What was that other emotion, half-visible on his face? Disgust, maybe. Bzzz. He’s all business, peers into your ears with his little flashlight. Bzzz. “Everything looks healthy,” he declares with satisfaction. “I could refer you to a specialist if you’re worried about it.” Bzzz. Bzzz. “No, that’s okay,” you tell him. You just want to go home.
Thanks to captainglittertoes for this post, which inspired me to experiment with new ways to narrate the trans experience.