The Tinnitus Story

Once upon a time, in a village far from here there lived two little girls named EMMA & AUDREY. It was a very special day today – the first day of Grade 1. They were as scared as they were excited. What if it was too difficult? What if they didn’t make any friends and were alone? But they didn’t have to fear. They had the best teacher in the whole school. Mrs. Brian loved her grade one’s and she read them like a book! She called her little ones in and placed them two-two per desk. She placed EMMA & AUDREY next to each other as she just had a feeling that they would get along.

Needless to say, EMMA & AUDREY became best friends. They did everything together and often got the opportunity for sleepovers. They felt like sisters. Everybody could see the bond between the two.

But one day, in the English class, the teacher announced that she had a special surprise for the Grade 7 group in front of her. A new girl named HANNAH were joining the group. She came from the noisiest city in the world – Pakistan. EMMA immediately felt sorry for HANNAH. She looked scared and a little bit sad. EMMA decided that she would do her best to make HANNAH feel welcome. She started spending more and more time with HANNAH. She really liked HANNAH.

Poor AUDREY. She admired EMMA for making the transition to a new country and a new school easier for HANNAH but she missed her best friend. She missed their conversations and all the fun things they did together. She didn’t want to say anything to EMMA because she didn’t want to make EMMA or HANNAH sad. She just hoped that EMMA would remember their special bond and decide to spend some time with her again soon. But spending time with HANNAH changed EMMA. She started ignoring other people, including AUDREY. This made AUDREY feel extremely sad. She missed her friend.

She tried making new friends but it just wasn’t the same. One day after school she decided to clean her cupboards. As she was cleaning and rearranging she found her UNO cards. EMMA used to love UNO. AUDREY instinctively took the cards and started dealing only to be jerked back to reality realizing there was nobody to play with her.

She decided to play with herself. She started role playing. She would take her turn and then pretend to be EMMA and take her turn. This was actually fun! She almost felt like EMMA was there! AUDREY did this often, also with other games and activities. She could now just close her eyes and see (and hear) EMMA. Oh how she missed EMMA’s voice! Wherever she went she imagined EMMA with her. Other people might think she’s crazy, but she didn’t care – she actually felt happier than she did in months! She would practice ‘hearing’ EMMA and ‘listen’ closely so that she would not forget what her voice sounded like. Maybe EMMA would return, but until then she had EMMA in her head, and that was better than no EMMA at all!

But, oh no, a new problem occurred. Sometimes EMMA (in AUDREY’s head) didn’t want to keep quiet! She sometimes made funny sounds and really started getting on AUDREY’s nerves. Sometimes she could control the voice but when she was sad, tired or stressed EMMA’s voice got so loud that she felt like screaming!

AUDREY decided to speak to her mom. She needed help, and her mom always had a way to fix things. Her mom – AUDORA – of course, being the clever passionate woman that she is – had a plan. She phoned EMMA and invited her for lunch. EMMA loved AUDREY’s mom (who didn’t!) and she also missed AUDREY so she immediately accepted. She actually couldn’t wait to see AUDREY. She had so much to tell her. She looked forward to lunch.

When EMMA arrived at AUDREY’s home she was bursting with excitement. AUDREY’s mom AURORA opened the door and told EMMA that she could go through to AUDREY’s room. When EMMA got to her friends room, she saw AUDREY sitting with her back to the door reading a book. She started talking to her friend but she didn’t move. Didn’t she hear her? Was she upset with her and ignoring her? EMMA wasn’t sure. She moved a bit closer and touched AUDREY’s shoulder. AUDREY jumped up – she got such a big fright!

She stared at EMMA, rubbed her eyes and looked again. She couldn’t believe it! Was she now hearing, seeing and feeling EMMA (in her head)? Has she finally lost her mind? She started shaking – she was scared. But EMMA came closer, gave her a hug and hold her for a little bit. AUDREY felt her heart beat against EMMA’s. This was the REAL EMMA! She couldn’t believe it! EMMA was back! It felt like the night before Christmas. Wow! Awesome! Amazing!

They sat down and started talking but AUDREY battled to distinguish between REAL EMMA AND EMMA (in her head). But she really tried hard to focus. She wanted the REAL EMMA in her life! She longer she focused the clearer EMMA’s voice got. They started spending some time together again. The more time they spent together the softer EMMA (in AUDREY’s head) got.

AUDREY didn’t have to pretend anymore – she didn’t have to try and remember what EMMA sounded like – she had the real EMMA back in her life. She could at this moment think of anything better! She suddenly thought about how it all happened and ran to her mom. “Thank you mom for helping me! I love you so much! You are simply the best mom in the whole wide world!”                           


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