C. Patrice Ares-Christian is a graduate student earning her Ph.D. in Asian American and African American literature. She is a lifelong writer and lover of trees. She is also an unashamed bibliophile. If you know her long enough, chances are you will hear her burst into random bits of song. She also loves to garden and cook. Recently disabled, she is finding her voice again and learning how to live her life to the fullest, one day at a time. The loves of her life are her husband, Isaiah, and her Yorkshire terrier, Sir Gawain.
Listen I hear crickets that don’t exist. There are trains passing through my parking lot, and I swear I spoke to you about Something— but it’s hazy —and you say we never spoke. I can still watch tv, or try to remember that Italian song I learned in high school. At night, I hear the whirring of the fan, the sounds of neighbors through too-thin walls. I hear my dog’s snores blends with yours, but I can’t sleep because I also hear Everything that isn’t here. “Auditory hallucinations, most likely a sign of a brain tumor.” I also hear the doctor’s words repeat in my head. It seems the only voices I can’t hear are the ones of the Mother Ancestors living in the trees. I wonder if they are still trying to talk to me and what stories I am missing. But, perhaps, they’ve given up on me. After all, once you stop listening to the trees, it’s not so easy to hear their words or understand their speech again.