How is it that Ulysses can continue after having heard the Sirens? Is not
the rest of his life a mere haunting, an addiction, a cunning circling back
to the island? (Is it not to here that he returns after the buried years
in Ithaca?) For it is the memory that maddens, the notes have no sorcery
of their own unless they are aided by the mind and its own longing.
Sometimes, I am walking in the street, I hear a woman's voice and I stand
for a moment, swimming in pain-- it is an actual, physical pain--I think
it is her, Hanna. My father's voice does not stand out in such relief. It
is only hers. I remember she told me that she had spent many hours reforming
my ears because, when I was born, they were hideous, crunched up like the
heart of a cabbage. She says this dreamily, offering it up as inarguable
proof of her devotion and love.
Now, I would tell her: All ears are ludicrous. They are crumpled as if they
alone have gone through a fire--they're not a part of our body. But I loved
her hands pulling at them, my head on her lap. She told me that, after many
months' effort, she had managed to smoothen my ears somewhat but I should
keep them out of sight.
So that is how my hair was cut all throughout my childhood. It's true: my
ears are rather odd, smallish, and strangely pointed at the tips. Nevertheless,
I always grow my hair long enough to slide it behind my ear, leaving them
in full view. But then I hear her voice and I wonder why I leave them so
exposed. I want to cover my ears and grow old without her maddening music.
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