Monday, March 27, 2017

The Sound

A little girl sitting alone in a classroom. Image source.
[trigger warnings for globophobia/phonophobia]

The students all shuffled into the classroom together. Jesus sat in the second row.

"Today," their teacher said, "we have a special guest who will show us some chemistry demonstrations." There was a tank of gas at the front of the classroom. Oh no, thought Jesus, I hope it's not explosions. His mind filled with worry. There was nothing he could do except hope and hope and hope that there would be no explosions. He was powerless, trapped in that classroom.

After a bit of talk about gas and molecules, the speaker pulled out a balloon. The King of kings felt trapped in his seat in the second row. A mess of emotions swirled around his mind, but the biggest one was fear. Fear of what would happen if that balloon popped. The sound, the unbearable sound. No one would protect him. He knew that. A lifetime of people telling him it's not that bad, just makes you a little bit startled, that's all.

No one would protect him. No one would care about his pain. Jesus stared as the speaker blew into the balloon to inflate it.

He lit a match.

And God put his human fingers into his ears. He tensed all his muscles, held his breath, put his head down, and then the pop came. The sound filled the whole room and seemed to fill his brain, like the whole world was blocked out for that one instant, as Jesus pushed into his ears but couldn't stop the intense pain.

It was over. But he was shaking. And nobody seemed to notice the trauma he had just endured.

Now the guest speaker was saying something about hydrogen. And Jesus began the cycle of fear all over again. He knew that guy had more balloons. He knew there was a tank of hydrogen. It was going to happen again. He was trapped in his seat, with his classmates all around, but so totally alone.

All he could do was wait for the pain to come and then it would be over, and then it would be okay.

At the front of the classroom, the speaker stretched a balloon over the nozzle of the tank, and the Messiah heard the hiss of the gas. The balloon inflated, and he squirmed in his chair, not even aware of the fact that he was pushing his fingers into his ears. It was a response he did automatically.

He was stuck, so stuck, trapped in that chair. When will this end? he wondered. Anxious, desperate, fully aware that he could not stop the pain. If- when- that ballon popped, the sound would overwhelm him again. For an instant, it would destroy the entire world, and then everything would snap back to normal, and everyone would just continue on as if they hadn't just experienced a cataclysmic event.

All he could do was stare, and worry, and wonder when the sound would come. When the pain would come.

This time, the speaker taped a match to the end of a meter stick. He lit the match and lowered the meter stick, closer and closer to the balloon, as the Creater of the entire universe- of hydrogen atoms and vibrations and sound and the human auditory system- cowered in his chair, twisting his body in an attempt to become smaller... Anything to guard against that awful, indescribable sound. It wouldn't be enough. He knew it wouldn't be enough.

And it popped. It was loud. It was overwhelmingly loud. He pushed into his ears as hard as he could, as the sound overtook him and blocked out everything else. For a moment, nothing else existed besides that monstrous sound, beating him down, and it ended as suddenly as it had come.

It was over. Oh thank goodness it was over. Surely that guy wouldn't do another one. It must be over.

The Son of God listened with dread as the speaker started talking about ratios of gases. A carefully-proportioned mix between hydrogen and oxygen would make an even more spectacular result. And he got out a third balloon.

No. This was too much. This was torture. But there was nothing he could do. He had to stay in his seat, in the second row. Terrified.

The balloon, the meter stick, the match. And Jesus shrank into his chair, powerless. No one would save him. No one would protect him. It was just him and his fingers in his ears, but of course that wasn't enough.

And the balloon exploded.

It felt like the entire world exploded.

The sound overwhelmed him and drowned out everything else. It filled the whole room, his whole mind, his whole body. In that moment, he couldn't think- the explosion had completely overtaken and destroyed the place where his thoughts were supposed to be. His body reacted the way it always did, the way he had been trained, through years and years of enduring this trauma alone, while other people seemed completely unaware. Head down, fingers pushing so hard into his ears, all his muscles attempting to curl his body as small as possible.

At the same time, a giant fireball swept from the front to the back of the classroom. He felt the heat and the air whooshing by. But the sound was what caused him incredible pain.

And just as suddenly as it had come, it was over. The other students were chattering excitedly, seemingly delighted by what had just happened. Jesus finally let out a huge breath, as he decided it was okay to relax now. It wouldn't happen again. It was over.

The other students started to file out of the classroom. Emmanuel, God With Us, followed them, his long hair hiding his tears. He would go to his next class now, and just move on with life, internalizing the message that had been forced on him every time this happened: that he was the weird one for having such a strong reaction to sound, that it was totally fine for other people not to notice or care about his pain, and everything would be better if he would just learn not to care about it either. If he could force himself not to "overreact." And "be normal."

With his hair still covering his face, Jesus wiped away his tears, and felt so alone.

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