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No Escape

By B. Davis Campbell

The other night, to celebrate my youngest daughter’s birthday, my wife and I met her and her boyfriend at a Thai restaurant. The food and company were certainly a treat for me, seeing that I am a fan of Thai food, especially Thai noodles and sushi. My wife’s food, on the other hand, was not as appetizing as mine. She ordered some sort of meat and salad type dish but it was a little too spicy for her taste. She carried the leftovers home but I doubt the rest of her entree will be consumed. Yet, overall, the dinner was rather pleasant. As a matter of fact, the whole evening was. Good food and good company; you really couldn’t ask for anything more.

Then, the course of the evening changed. After we left the restaurant, my wife wanted to stop by a music store in the area to check the availability of a certain CD she was seeking. Little did I realize the joy of the dinner date with the relaxing food and company would deteriorate once we entered the music store.

As we entered the music store, the first thing I noticed was loud music (I’m talking “loud” music), which permeated the store. Not only was it loud, it was of the “heavy metal” variety. Mind you, I’m not a prude and have enjoyed all types of music over the years, but this music was really bad. The vocalizations, the rhythms and the instrumentation gnawed at my being like a festering sore. I even felt like the music was trying to devour me. Hence, it made me want to run away and hide, the faster the better. However, being in the store with my wife, I thought the proper “husbandly” thing to do would be to stay in the store with her and try to endure the unjoyful sound. But, in my heart, I was desperate to retreat from this chaos.

However, I couldn’t get away. I went to one of the corners of the store to see if perhaps the music would be less abrasive in another location, but to no avail. The speakers were broadcasting this horrific sound to every square inch of the premises. I also tried putting on headphones by listening to other artists. Yet, this was fruitless also. My only respite was the few precious seconds between songs when there was silence.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, my wife had her fill of the store and we headed toward the car. Still visibly shaken, I told her how the music had attacked me with such vigor. We opted to grab some dessert on the way home. Being redirected after we found out the doughnut store was out of our favorites, we grabbed a couple hot fudge sundaes at a fast-food establishment and headed home. I later crawled into bed and slept soundly, thankfully forgetting the ghastly sound at the music store, at least for the time being. Eventually, the pain of the evening dissipated in the days that followed.

Yet, wanting to learn from this experience, I came to recognize how I could grow from the music store encounter. Even though it was difficult, I survived (although just barely) and had added more character to my backbone. Maybe this encounter prepared me to overcome even more auditory attacks in the future, for example, listening to certain political figures on television. Hey, I may one day even be able to watch “The View” with my wife without any gastrointestinal distress.

B. Davis Campbell is a cancer survivor and author of “A Place I Didn’t Want To Go: My Victory Over Cancer.”

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