When I was little, my mom used to get laryngitis; it was her one weakness, my mother suddenly reduced to whispers. I was always kind of fascinated, watching her whisper away a winter week, and her quietness quieted us, too.
It was those weeks when we'd talk about how we both loved raspy voices, the girls who seemed so tough with their 8-year-old smoker's voices. She'd tell me about how at boarding school, she and her friends would sneak into the gym and scream into their pillows until they were hoarse. I tried it at sleepovers a few times but was met with threats of being sent home.
We'd also talk about the beautiful girls with the upturned noses, how my kindergarten best buddy Mary Bonner and I would pushed our noses up and watch our mouths in the mirror while we talked, top lip raised higher on our teeth, and think of Hailey Mills and the Parent Trap. And I'd tell her how when we did it long enough, our mouths would still feel that way for a few seconds after we stopped, and we'd have creases under the bridges of our noses. She said she'd done the same, and then the two of us talked to each other with our noses pressed up for a while.
Two nights ago I went to dinner for my brother's birthday. At some point late in the meal, I became so animated about something, I looked up to see the five of them suddenly staring at me -- you are practically yelling (the restaurant was about 12x12). And then, within the next 10 minutes, as if to make a point, my voice left entirely.
It's a rite of passage, this laryngitis, a week of remembering.