We hear some word spoken in the dim room. Only we had been there, so we do not know who might have said it. We grow still, listen, and hear the word a second time. It does not reach us distinctly, but we gather the basic sound of it, its firm consonants. We listen and wait. We think that since we have heard it twice, the small bit of speech must be important. However, we admit we do not know for sure what it is--a noun, a verb. We tense, weighing these peculiar facts.

We hear the word said again, now in a low ripple. We try to piece together its parts and pronounce it. Do we get it right?, we wonder, looking at each other. The voice that had spoken resumes. New syllables reach our ears. The sound has more nuance than we had heard but is faint still. This fact, after our long patience, frustrates us. We realize it will take some dedication to catch the whole word the way the mysterious voice speaks. We wait in the dim room and listen.

We try to figure what exactly we have heard. Part of it sounded like a long r. Another part, a quiet th. What have we heard, in fact? As we ponder, we hear the word in a cutting tone we had not earlier. From just the part we catch (for it is spoken quickly), we can tell its character is more emphatic than we had believed. We are left fumbling what to think. But our curiosity over the word sets us back on course. There is some essence to the small bit of speech that we like even as it defies our grasping. We keep alert for the voice; we stir even at the stray noises in the room.

We anticipate hearing something soon. The wait becomes a pleasure as we guess and figure when we will hear it. Then, we hear the word faintly. The sound is like a charm: we believe that we can understand this whisper in the air. We feel freshly confident of its nature. We repeat the syllables that we can catch as if to know their meaning for certain.

From the shadows, the word reaches us once more. Has it come in answer to our voices?, we wonder. We believe that if we listen, we will learn the answer.

Norbert Kovacs