The Silent Singer
The girls sang better than the boys, their voices reaching All the way to God, Sister Ann Zita insisted during those practice sessions when I was told to mouth do, re, mi, but to go no higher, when I was told to stand in back and form a perfect 0 with my lips although no word was ever to come out, the silent singer in that third-grade class during the Christmas Pageant and Easter Week, the birth and death of Christ lip-synched but unsung while my relatives, friends and parents praised my baritone, how low my voice was, Balancing those higher, more childlike tones, my father said, Adding depth, my mother said, Thank God they had my huskiness to bring all that tinniness to earth, my great-aunt whispered, so I believed for many years in miracles myself, the words I'd never sung reaching their ears in the perfect pitch, the perfect tone, while the others stuttered in their all-too-human voices to praise the Lord.
From The Silent Singer by Len Roberts. Copyright © 2000 by Len Roberts. Used with permission of the author and the University of Illinois Press. All rights reserved.