The Blind Man and the Deaf Woman
“More than words is all you have to do to make it real.
Then you wouldn’t have to say that you love me,
cause I’d already know.”
~Extreme-More Than Words
A couple of lovers lived on a small wooden house by the seashore. How they’ve met, nobody knew. How they’ve fallen in love and got to live together, no one could tell. All people knew was that they love each other, though the couple never tells them.
During the first decade together, the man and the woman were just like every other people could. There was nothing really special about the two of them, except the one habit they used to do every morning and later in the evening; the couple loved to sit on the entrance stairs to their house. From there, they could watch the sun on the horizon—rising in the morning and setting in the evening.
While watching the sun, sometimes they also told stories or jokes to one another. The man was a carpenter; many times they spent the moments with the man working on a piece of chair or bookshelf while the woman read a book or two. The woman was a painter; many times they spent the moments with the woman running her paint and brush on the canvas while the man read newspaper or journals.
While watching the sun—either sunrise or sunset, they were always accompanied by warm drinks the woman had made—a cup of coffee for the man and a cup of tea for herself.
For years, they never failed to do so. Not a single day had ever passed without them sitting on the stairs.
* * *
One day the man fell down the stairs and bumped his head against a big stone statue at the bottom of the stairs. He was badly injured; but what made it worse was that he became blind since then. The woman, with strong patience and hope, looked after him every day, but he could never see again.
“You can leave if you’re willing to. You’re still young—beautiful and charming,” said the man. “I can no longer see and adore your paintings; neither can I see or adore you. You deserve a man better than me.”
But the woman only replied, “If I ever had reasons to leave, that would be to make a cup of warm coffee for you.”
They continued to sit side by side at the stairs, accompanied by a cup of coffee and another one of tea. As the man could no longer see the beauty of both sunrise and sunset, the woman started to tell him the wonders she had seen through words. Sometimes she told them in plain words, sometimes in poems, sometimes in songs.
“Hearing your voice calms my nerves—it’s a blessing to hear your voice every day,” the man told the woman.
That’s it; they remained together.
* * *
Perhaps being physically exhausted from taking care of her husband and herself, few years later the woman suffered from a severe fever. Her fever almost reached the limit, but she was tough enough to endure and eventually recovered. Sadly, the fever had taken her hearing as well as her soft, calming voice. She could no longer speak words clearly. Whenever she did, all she said sounded more like a growling than real words.
The woman was devastated. Not only was she unable to hear what her husband said about anything, she was also unable to tell him all that she’d got to tell. They still maintained to sit at the stairs, but they were left like two lost persons; each with no idea of what to do.
One day, when they spent their time sitting at the stairs as usual, all the desperation accumulated and exploded. The woman cried, silently, but the man couldn’t see her. The man cried, with little sobs, but the woman couldn’t hear him. For quite a moment they both cried; but neither one of them realized.
Just as the woman turned to see her husband’s face, that’s when she eventually saw him crying. Though unable to hear how painful the man’s cry was, she could somehow feel the suffering. Her cry broke heavier that her tears fell down on her husband’s fingers.
Feeling warm water dropping on his fingers, the man lifted his hand to touch the woman’s face. And that’s when he realized that his wife had been crying heavily; all her face was wet of tears. When he grabbed her shoulder and drew her close to his arms, he could feel his wife’s body shaking.
They cried together for minutes. Some tears were for their desperation, but more of them were for happiness. Why happy? Yes, it’s because they knew that they were there—one for another. And that there’s a way for them to express how much they loved and cared for one another, a way stronger than looks and words.
* * *
Years after crying together at the stairs, the couple still spent few moments at the stairs. No words; no jokes, no poems, no stories—only a cup of warm coffee and tea. But from the first second they sat at the stairs to the last second they rose back to the house, they never let go of each other’s hands.
And that’s it, they remained together.
* * *
You have mouth, then speak.
If you are mute, then use your eyes.
If you are mute and blind, then use your touch.
If you can’t do all of them, then use your heart.
Yogyakarta, March 29, 2012