Glancing at my bedroom clock, I noticed that it was just after 1am, when Hugo ran into my room signing madly. Normally I had an average grasp on what he was signing, but today I just couldn’t register what was happening. He was signing too fast for me to get a clear view of his hands. Being this early in the morning and in a hushed tone, I told him to slow down and start over. I thought he would do as I said but no! he was signing just as quickly in an actual panic. Rubbing my eyes so I could get a clear view of his hands, I sat up, although I was too exhausted to move. It was most likely the wind or just his imagination about this old house.
Too tired to register what was happening at this point, I said ‘just sleep here with me until morning’, pulling him into bed and covering him with a blanket. Looking at his face in the dimmed light, I saw the reflection of sadness as well as anxiousness. I decided it was best to close the door; turning the rusted key and locking us in so at least he would feel safe; knowing deep down this would do nothing. I decided to go back to bed; ultimately calming him down. Still staring anxiously at the door, I decided to sit with Hugo until he eventually fell asleep. Curling up on the foot of the bed and hoping this would be all over in the morning, ‘don’t let your fears define you’. Never have I ever seen the kid so frightened. ′ I tell you what, how about I keep the lights on?′ I said nodding towards the old lantern in the corner of the room. At the point I figured nothing else would work so why not?
It didn’t seem like I had been asleep for long when I was awakened by the sound of my doorknob rattling. Glancing out the window I noticed the sun shining, it was morning. ‘Avery! Open the damn door! Why is it locked?’ It was my father and boy did he sound annoyed.
Jumping up, trying not to disturb my brother as he slept somewhat peacefully, I unlocked the door. He looked in with furrowed brows, trying to figure out what in the heck I was doing; raised them in surprise at the sight of Hugo.
‘He was really, really scared last night so I let him sleep with me’, I yawned as I passed him to go to the bathroom.
‘Let him sleep for a while and follow me downstairs’. This didn’t seem like anything unusual at first but then I noticed his expression.
‘Poor kid, out of all the houses I get the pick of, I have to go and find the creepiest and isolated’ dad said whilst shaking his head and making me breakfast.
‘It wasn’t that bad really’, I said attempting to make my response without trying to sound like a tired, aggravated teenager. ‘I think it was just his imagination or something. He was making all kinds of different signs when he ran into my room, I was just too tired to actually register or make any sense of’.
‘Do you remember any of them?’ he asked with a confused expression along his face.
‘Not really, although there was one that sort of looked like this’, I said trying to sign the motion I thought I had seen. I held my hand under my chin, moving downwards to form a fist. My father’s expression remained motionless. Although his stature seemed fine, I did notice one thing; his fingers were tapping nervously on the countertop.
‘Are you sure?’ he asked sceptically. ‘Yeah, I don’t know it was dark. Maybe’, I said, stuffing a spoonful of cereal into my mouth.
Pausing for a few moments, he looked up at the stairs as if he had heard Hugo stirring and then looked back at me. ‘What?’ I said whilst trying to chew.
‘ That sign you just made means man’.
‘ He was dreaming’, I said dismissively. ‘It’s just-’ my father began to say. ‘It was just his imagination or another nightmare, dad’ I said as I put my bowl in the overflowing sink. I was in no mood for his weird suppositions I said to myself as I made my way up to my room in order to get ready for school.
Most people ask me what it’s like having a deaf brother. They don’t understand that he wasn’t always deaf, it was just an unfortunate turn of events that made him the way he was now. Hugo being deaf did not affect the way in which I loved my brother, even if I didn’t show it all the time.