When I used them, I could immerse myself in the world of music and sometimes in the world of fairy tales and audio books. I rarely used it for vocabulary lessons or other school related stuff.
It came to me as a big salvation from the real world.
My Mum and Dad used to randomly argue all the time when they were at home together. It hurt me too much and sucked the breath out of my throat, so I often had to run away from home to get some fresh air into my lungs. I really couldn't imagine why Mum married such a irascible man. I just put on the headphones and could slip through the narrow gap into my own splendid world. There were melodies of unknown nations, the scent of impossibly huge dragons with glittering scales and awesome brave conquerors, who of course get every beautiful lady. All the wonders of fantasy circled around me in a second. The headphones were a really great purchase.
Until the day I heard a strange voice.
At first, it only interrupted audio books and I thought it was a technical flaw when making the CDs, but later it interjected in music, pieces where I certainly knew it had no voice on it. Like small siblings who invite themselves into your room at the wrong time, this blurred voice came in at especially exciting sequences. It destroyed all my beloved discoveries for unknown reasons. I got a bit annoyed.
I was not able to understand it at the beginning, but later I caught some words like chrysanthemum, hidden treasures and death. With the words in the middle, I was unsure if I wanted to hear it again. The last word in particular always gave me the creeps. I had to think of a solution, because now my hideaway was dappled with a lingering stale aftertaste. That was when I got really nervous. Talking with my parents was not an option and friends would possibly think I was crazy.
One day, when I was not using the headphones, my Dad stormed up to my room while arguing with Mum. He said that I should go out of the house and save the cat, for God‘s sake. The noise got on his nerves, even though his own voice was louder. Anyway, I went into the garden behind the house, where an astoundingly loud cat sound was heard. I found the elegant animal entangled in a thick net. I didn’t know where it came from. Maybe one of Dad‘s boats. I rescued the cat, which scratched me as a thank you.
What the hell is this net here for? My glance fell on the flowers under the net. Chrysanthemum. I felt shivers down my spine.
I looked closer at the flowers. The heavy net seemed to push them in every direction. Was my Dad that disgruntled, that he brought boat stuff in the garden and throw it on the chrysanthemums? That really made no sense at all. In recent days, no one ever cared about the garden. Dad only stood in it from time to time here, starring into despair. I decided to plant new flowers. My parents still argued about stupid stuff and so I had lots of time unattended. I went into our rotten shed and grabbed a small scoop-like shovel.
When I almost replanted all flowers, my shovel encountered something in the soil. Excited, I dug faster and found a dark wooden box with a string wrapped around it. I looked around , if someone maybe had observed what I did. Suddenly, there was a noise in the bush nearby. I was alarmed, but it was only the cat, which ran into the house. I took the box and went back into the shed. There I sat down on the ground and opened the box with palsied fingers. It consisted of a letter and something wrapped in plastic, which has a very nauseating smell. I let the stinking thing fall, opened the envelope and Dad‘s handwriting caught my eye.
I know I shouldn't have done this. May heaven forgive me. I couldn't afford bringing you home, so I only took your heart. Your loving father.
In addition to the emerging horror of the found rotten piece of flesh, I was really confused. Could it be that Dad was a murderer? Do I have to protect Mum and me? But if he was a psychopath, wouldn't he already had killed us? Besides, no one ever told me that I had a sister or brother.
Suddenly an idea stroke my thoughts like a comet with a really deep impact. It was that voice in my headphones! Referring to that evidence it must be a sister. She spoke to me from wherever she was and wanted that I know the truth about the past.
Now I knew.
Even if I never could see or speak to her, tears rolled down my cheek, when I gently put the box back where I recently had revealed it.
I asked Mum when Dad was gone, if he had any other children, maybe before he got to know Mum. First she looked at me suspiciously but said nothing. Arguing with Dad was exhausting, of course. She needed time. Later that day, absolutely out of the blue, she told me about Eve. She was with Dad on his boat and had a deadly accident. At least that’s what Dad had told her. In that unholy year, she would have become seven. Mum never liked the boat but Eve was keen on staying there. She didn't need solid ground under her feet. Finally, Mum cried.
From that day on I saw Mum as another person and Dad as well. I never mentioned the box in front of them, but I now knew, why Dad was that bad-tempered after standing in front of the chrysanthemums. I told Mum, when it is better to not bother him and arguing stopped to a certain degree.
In the meantime, I wondered, if I could communicate with Eve somehow. But whenever I heard music or listen to an audio book, the voice in the headphones never occurred again.
I am still waiting.