Sarah tapped her finger on the table once, then twice. She’d guided too many patients through the voice banking decision, had seen the regret in their eyes and in their typed-out words as they lost their once flawless voices over time. Their normal cadences, the healthy ones, hid an awful truth beneath—the scratch at the close of a sentence, the heavy onset of the final open vowel, the Oh of surprise that could grab a man and startle him, the lips closing like they’d given out too many secrets, spoken just a little too much.
But Martin’s case was different. He’d have the chance to have his children and children’s children use his voice, and strangers too, to have those cadences echo on and on. And—she tried not to think about it—he was the only ALS patient in the past ten years to have such a perfectly preserved voice. The only patient Dr. Zeller had ever wanted to invest in, over the entire course of his career.