I sit in the back of Lisa's car, my legs tucked under my chin away from the prying eyes of the neighbourhood children. My name is Maggie Simpson, aged ten, a reserved girl who doesn't mix very well, lLost in a world of fate.
The children at school act like I don't exist, like a soulful speck of dust floating forever in a vacant landscape, even the teachers treat me with care, I have to have special lessons so everyone thinks I'm thick which I the case I guess.
I'm not like other children...
Maybe it would have been better if I had died that day I fell from the top of the climbing frame. Be free of this pain and exclusion. That's how I got this horrid illness. I had been climbing then suddenly like a hand had pushed me I was thrown back and landed with a smack on the hard concrete. I had passed out.
I remember the rest clearly even it had happened so long ago, when I had come round I had found myself trapped. Unable to hear... From that day forward instead of the chatty and joyful four year old I had once been was gone, gone forever just like that. This was the new Maggie, the new me.
I'm Maggie Simpson aged ten and I'm deaf.
Lisa's gentle, warmhearted hand on my shoulder pulls me out of my sullen daydream. I look up at her, her arms are crammed full of paper bags which she squashes into the seat next to me. I pull on my seatbelt and Lisa points to the steering wheel, signaling that she is going to drive off. I don't need her to sign for me, I already understand.
We start to drive away, I still make no noise and it's been years since I have talked. I feel more comfortable that way, it's hard at school though when people start to pick on me I just want to yell at them, to leave me alone, to think how they would feel in my situation.
But why is Lisa stopping? We can't be at home already can we? I peer out through the weather, washed window onto the world outside. We are at the Kwik-E-Mart...
Lisa mimes opening a wrapper and licking an invisible popsicle in my direction. I understand what she's getting at and leap out of the car.
I follow her in through the sliding doors and to the popsicle stand; picking the blueberry flavor as I always did I follow her back to the counter where Lisa is standing holding up a strawberry one.
We lean on the wall outside sucking away the flavored ice; I have loved blueberry popsicles ever since I have been little because they always cheer me up no matter how bad or sorry I feel.
It's late when we arrive home, I pull off my coat and hurry upstairs, I don't feel like eating dinner. I flop down on my bed and roll over wondering a thousand wishes if I would ever hear Lisa's sweet voice again.
All the pain and humiliation from six years was still with me; wherever I went, and for as long as I have this illness...Oh it's all hard to explain.
I reach for my diary and flick through the many pages filled with sadness and dread. I'm more prone to write my life on paper seeing as I can't explain it out in words.
I feel tears on my cheeks, why must I always cry when I remember my life.
After I came out of hospital I had to have special lessons with a special tutor in a special school. My tutor was deaf himself and he taught me sign language. My family learnt it to, endless nights of pouring over hard, merciless books. My life had changed...
I didn't need their hands or their voices, I just needed them. When it somebody you love you understand them no matter what they are trying to say.
I sighed and sat up, my dreams were different and in my dreams I was free. I was like other children that were able to laugh, play and hear. I heard my Family, even though I have forgotten there voices, I had made them up. I heard Lisa jamming away some jazzy new tune on her sax. Bart arguing with Homer, Mom humming some tune to herself while she cooked.
The force of sleep was great; I rolled back over not bothering to put on my pajamas. I was too tired, but not all hope was lost. We had been told by Dr. Hibbert so many times when we thought all was lost, "Remember never give up hope, one day she may be able to hear again..."
I wished so hard and then I fell away into my dreams,
It was early morning, my eyes were sore but someone was shaking me. I opened my eyes then something amazing happened.
"Mags, Wake up!" Lisa called
I could hear her, I could, I really could, my eyes snapped open properly and I as I looked up at her I wondered:
"What miracle is this?"
Only Lisa now knew I could hear again and I decided to surprise the rest of my family over breakfast with a warm, morning welcome. I planned carefully.
My heart is racing, I'm creeping downstairs, after avoiding talking for six years I wonder if I have forgotten how to, What will I say, What will I sound like? Maybe I'm dreaming. I seize a lump of skin on the back of my hand and pinch, Pain runs up my arm. "I can't even say "OW!" Oh God! I'm very much awake, I can hear again.
The Kitchen is drawing nearer, I take a deep breath, I'm standing in the doorway, I have to speak soon so I give it a try
"Morning," I blurt out, I didn't sound too bad, they all look at me. Even Dad has dropped his spoon; the clatter makes my ears ring and I flinch. I have still only adjusted to hearing again after hearing nothing for years.
Then Mom's hugging me, her tears falling into my hair and I smile, then the rest of them and I'm seized in a many armed hug.
"I'm better now," I whisper to her. "It's all over,"
"Maggie, can you hear me?" Hibbert asked
"Yes" I replied
He waved a packet of chocolates in my direction
"Can you hear those?"
He chuckled and tossed the packet to me
"Maggie maybe there are such things as miracles," He Chuckled, "Mrs Simpson," he announced addressing Mom, "With a case like this by Dinner-Time Little Margaret is going to be on every newsstand in Springfield!" He ruffled my hair.
When word got out, reporters came flogging into our house taking my picture and asking the same questions over and over.
"So you said you could just hear again?" One reporter jostled, shoving a microphone in my direction.
"Is it true you were stuck with this illness?" Came a second reporter, jabbing the first reporter in the back.
Eventually, Mom and Dad had to get rid of them, Mom chased them from the house with her rolling pin and Dad kicked them from the doorstep then they came back to me where I was seated on the couch huddled up next to Lisa watching "Itchy and Scratchy" and laughing along with her for the first time in years.
It had been a very long and tiring day, my eyes were aching.
Dad carried me up to bed I remembered as a young girl, sitting in the rows of pews for an hour on Sundays when I could still hear, "Always have faith," Rev. Lovejoy had told us so many times, "Have faith and your prayers will be answered,"
And as a blanket of black was drawn across the sky I believed those encouraging words, I rolled over onto my back and shut my eyes and gently whispered to myself: "Always have Faith."
Twenty Years Later
Maggie Simpson sat under the beach tree reading through for the millionth time the thirteen clippings from all those years ago, the papers was now yellowing with curls in the corners but Maggie smoothed them out and read the same story over and over in different context.
Marge had taken it in her stride to purchase all thirteen magazines and newspapers where Maggie was featured. She noticed she had been called "Miracle-Girl" in one of them.
The story was still fresh in her mind, at it still followed her wherever she went and she knew it was all over so long ago but she just couldn't shake it off.
A soccer ball came flying in her direction and she caught it, Maggie had always been good at sports after she got her hearing back.
A young girl with Maggie's spiky hair came running up dressed in a muddy T-shirt and green shorts.
"Great Catch Mom," Grinned Eleanor Simpson
Maggie Smiled up at her then looked back down at the Tenth Clipping.
Looking over her Shoulder Eleanor snatched it up and read the headline: MIRACLE-GIRL, GOT HEARING BACK UNDER SOME STRANGE OCCURRENCE, loomed back at her.
Sighing Eleanor looked at her Mother:
"Mom can't you just let it go?" Eleanor asked impatiently.
"I still can't work out how it came to be though?" Maggie Replied
Sometimes Eleanor would be more grown-up about the subject than Maggie.
"Mom sometimes questions just can't be answered," she took her mothers hand "This is one of those times"
Maggie looked up at her daughter, her own flesh and blood.
She had looked after her daughter for eleven years of her life, fed her, clothed Her, loved Her. She wanted to protect her from the same fate which she had suffered but in any case she was right. It was time to leave the past behind and let her Future begin...