Carey always had a sharp ear — her mother was an opera singer-turned-voice instructor who raised her girl to always stay in tune with the sounds of places and words and the world around her. As she grew older, she found comfort in the lingering baritone reverb of a man’s voice, and the sultry sounds of thoughts sneaking past pursed lips and hanging softly in the air, leaving a trail of audible bread crumbs behind. Even her own mezzo-alto echo could glide with the weight of a hummingbird’s song.
It was the complete absence of an echo, however, that made Ben’s adverse reaction to her news so shocking. The cavernous boom of his refusal was hardly a tickle in Carey’s mind compared to the sight of him catching her words in mid-air and crushing them in his hand, letting the syllables sift lie sand through his clenched fingers. There was nothing more haunting to her than the absence of sound; nothing more isolating than the feeling of still, silent air on her skin. Carey felt asthmatic; without the vibrations of soundwaves and frequencies, the air tasted thin and dead. She looked down and saw every plosive and sibilant shattered like glass fall and sprinkle the ground. That was when she knew that she never taste the resonant tones of Ben’s sweet voice again.