The doctor drew little shapes to represent new structures in the middle ear. Here was the small chain of bones that had been removed thirty years prior and would be fashioned out of bits of cartilage during the reconstruction, the bones that vibrated as a wave of sound came through on its way to the inner ear. Hammer, anvil, stirrup. He could not remember what it was like to hear completely. He had been in pain for all the years leading up to the first surgery, had leaked fluid from his chronically infected ear on his pillowcases, and had never really been cured until the whole rotten mess was taken out. And then, he was left blank on one side. For a long time, he would turn to the right, afraid that there was someone or something next to him or coming up from behind. He missed words and important declarations; spontaneous outpourings of love had to be repeated.
Excerpt from new story in progress (1)