In Kpeshie, I lost my voice. I stopped cleaning the bathroom walls and left the dishes too long.
On the small tan rug at the foot of my bed I would often sit; thinking of all the people I promised to call back. I would roll off names in my head and always conclude that it was too late to reach out.
There was the guilt of waiting too long to call that snowballed into waiting too long to do anything else. “Maybe if I saved my energy just enough, I would summon the strength to make this call and carry it on;” I’d lie to myself.
In the intervening hours between saving my energy and possibly making the call — I’d be reminded of a deadline; money that needs to be made and so I’d dissolve my essence in that one. And slowly; I drifted farther away from the use of my voice.
This was how I lost my voice. Daily refusing to say the things I promise myself I’d say. Looking for the perfect time to reach out — because I shouldn’t call in the middle of the night. The accepted principle of things is that: to call in the middle of the time is a cry for help or something worse; that the person you’ve chosen to call was not important enough for you to call during the day but only late in the night when you feel alone with nothing else to do.
I call “bullshit”, of course. I think those you call in the small hours of the morning are those most important to you. They are the ones you chose to trade breaths with when the world is dark, trusting that they will cast light into the deep darkness that beleaguers your existence. They are your pin-cushions; your green light by the pier; silver lining.
I had a silver lining once. But then I forgot to call her for days. One day I set a reminder on my iPhone to call her next week. That was 6 months ago.
This is how you lose your voice. Slowly. With the best intentions corrupted by your fears. That was how I lost my voice.