“I can’t really make out the lyrics of love songs these days,” I mention to Yuuka, wondering if she’s ever had any experiences like this.
We stand in the heart of the city arboretum, soaking in ambiance of shedding trees in the morning light.
Looking at me intently, she says,“Really?” with a voice full of concern.
“Yeah. Is that serious?”
“It could be. That’s a first symptom of going love deaf.”
My eyes widen. I had no idea I was even at any risk of losing this range of my hearing.
“You haven’t been listening to the melodies of love lately?” she asks.
“No, not really.”
“What have you been listening to?”
“Mostly dialogues in economics. I’m learning the technical language.”
“Like, mostly meaning really heavily?”
“Well, pretty often. I have to for my new job. I need to achieve fluency ASAP, so I’ve gone for total immersion, listening to these languages as much as possible outside my workplace.”
“Okay, that’s probably why you’re losing your ability to hear love.”
“So I should listen to love more?”
“Like, a lot?”
“Well, is it just lyrics in love songs that you’re having trouble hearing?”
“I’m not sure. Missing lyrics, that’s obvious because I know they’re supposed to be in the love songs I hear on the radio or in cafés. But I might be unable to hear love that’s all around me and just be mistaking that as an absence of love.”
“Can you hear this?” she asks.
I strain my ears but hear nothing.
“Hear what?” I ask, getting worried.
“Oh man,” she says uneasily. “What about this?”
I watch her lips move in a familiar pattern, but they do so in utter silence to me. Passersby turn their gazes towards us, making awkward eye contact with us.
I shake my head dismally.
Yuuka puts her arms around me and draws us close together.
“How about now?” she whispers.
“Yes, but barely,” I reply, straining to hear the exuberant rhythms of her heart, as tears start to form in my eyes.
“It’s okay,” she assures me in a hushed voice. “Just listen with me.”