"It means what you think you are singing is different from the music." Sister patted my hand. "It's nothing to be ashamed of, dear. You will still be in the pageant. You will be a lip-syncher. You may mouth the words, but no sound must be uttered. Do you understand what I'm saying?"
I understood, all right. I was so ashamed, I didn't go home after school. I took the bus straight to Aunt Dolly's house. She had an answer for everything.Independently single in an era when most women wed, she'd gone on safari, and planned to visit every country in the world. More than anyone else, she would understand that my world had been turned upside down by this terrible thing.
Aunt Dolly served me cookies and milk. "What will I do?" I sobbed.
Aunt Dolly dunked her cookie in my milk. She drummed her fingers on the kitchen table as her brow creased in thought. Finally her eyes grew wide. "I've got it!" she said. "I will wear my hat!"
Her hat? How can a hat help me with being tone-deaf? Aunt Dolly leveled her brown eyes on my face. "Jacquelyn, I'm about to reveal a bit of secret information about angels, but first you must swear that you will never tell a soul."
"I swear," I whispered.
Aunt Dolly took my hand in hers. "When I was in Rome, praying in St. Peter's," she said, "I overheard a conversation in the next pew. It seems that other tone-deaf people also have concerns about God not understanding their silence in song. They were told, in the strictest confidence, of course, that a simple piece of aluminum foil is the answer."
"I don't understand."
"You mouth the words," she said. "Your silent words reflect off the foil. Angels capture the words and put them in special pouches they carry up to God."