There’s a duck coming out of my mouth

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Is that a rubber duck?

Is that a suffocating dog?

That sounded like a kitten sneezing.

Is there a bird in here?

Does anyone hear that peep?

No, that’s just me.

That is what I suffer through at least once a day—every day since seventh grade.

Hiccups.

I don’t know why; it just started happening. Sometimes, I try to relate it to stress, but then I realize it happens during the relaxing days of summer, too.

I try not to look on the internet too much because then I will start to think that I have a deadly disease. I looked it up once, and it wasn’t good: damage to my nervous system, tumors or cysts in my neck, or many other alarming causes.

First hour, second hour, third hour, fourth hour, fifth hour, sixth hour. Hiccup after hiccup.

They come like lions creeping up on a gazelle, pouncing on my unwitting self at various points during the day. They make my cheeks blush like brand new Christmas lights. They make me retreat into my shell.

By now, most of my classes know the weird sound that shows up more than occasionally is me. They stare in my direction. They look away.

I hold my breath, I drink as much water as possible, I do whatever I can.

I’ve been told many ways to fix it. People try scaring me; one teacher even went behind me and banged a bat on a desk. Drink water. Hold your breath. Hold your breath, then take in more air, and hold it again. Do a headstand.

Most of these methods work to get rid of them for that hour, but never permanently.

They pull attention toward me. They interrupt classes. Muffled laughs form with them. Teasing forms out of them.

They’re back.

One time, someone else had them, and the teacher told me I had competition.

Is there a mouse back there?

Every day at some point, I wish they could disappear and me along with it. That would stop me from having to explain what they are for the rest of my life. It would stop the red and heat returning to my face every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

Is there a mouse back there? ”

But, it is not just me. I thought it was for the longest time, and then someone this summer said the same thing happens to her. I was in awe—I was so glad I‘m not a medical anomaly.

I guess—occasionally—I am okay with the hiccups. It gives me something to laugh about and distract me from the stress of the day. Sometimes, it lightens the mood if everyone in the room is stressed, sad, or tired.

But usually, I resent them.

Every year, and every summer, I await the confusion of the unaccustomed people and teachers in my classes. Whenever I meet someone new, I brace myself for the day they hear the unorthodox sound and incorporate it into the CD of familiar sounds in their brain. I await the new similes and smiles.

It’s so adorable.

I love your hiccups.

They’re so weird.

I’m truly glad you enjoy them because I don’t.