Do you ever wonder what “normal” actually is?
I’ve spent a majority of my life being told I’m different- being treated differently- and believing that I really wasn’t normal.
No one ever said anything straight to my face, but I could see it on their lips.
In fourth grade after the chorus incident, it was made clear that I wasn’t the same as my classmates.
I felt left out a lot. They could talk together and have fun, but I was mostly on my own.
Even the teachers treated me different. It was like they didn’t want to put up with me at all. They even seemed to ignore the bullying, because they just didn’t want to get involved.
Spelling tests were impossible. Reading out loud was torture. Listening was not something I could do, especially when the teachers weren’t always facing where I could see their mouths properly.
It was recommended that I go to a school for the deaf and hard of hearing, but my mom didn’t have the money for that. Besides, I always told my mom I would be just fine. I didn’t want her to worry about me. I could handle it on my own. Even if I got lonely sometimes, it wouldn’t matter. It wasn’t a big deal at that time, because I figured things would get better.
Things didn’t get better.
Even at times when it seemed like it would get better, I was always let down. It was always the same feeling of not being “one of them”. I didn’t know anyone else who had similar issues to me, so no one around me could really understand just want I was going through. They didn’t know just how frustrating it was to feel isolated and disconnected from everyone.
That was of course until I met Skyler.
He understood. Maybe not completely, but enough to where he didn’t automatically find me odd or unworthy of being around.
He never made me feel like I’m different.
Still, what exactly is normal?
My normal is having bad ear that don’t function properly.
For me I’m not the different one.
The people who can’t understand are the one’s who seem different to me, because in turn I can’t understand them either.
My mom came home a few days after she was originally hospitalized. The tests came back clear. She was told to take it easy, so that she doesn’t provoke another stress influenced seizure.
It’s been two weeks since she came home. I recently started working a part time job so that my mom wouldn’t have to work so much. My hours aren’t much because of my age, but the pay isn’t bad. It’ll help in the long run I think.
I convinced my mom to cut back on her hours and to even quit one of her three jobs. At first xhd hesitated, but after awhile she finally agreed. She went back to work last week, but I don’t think she’s pushing herself as much. She seemed to be home more then she was before. So has time to relax and rest. Sometimes we even get to eat dinner together.
“Mom, I’m going. Don’t wait up,” I say as I walk through the living room. My mom is reading a book, something she didn’t get to do so much before.
She looks up to smile at me. “Okay, sweetheart. Have a good day. I’ll save you a plate after dinner.” She signs before going back to reading.
I smile back at her before I make my way out the door.
Skyler’s truck is waiting outside for me. I try my best not to grin like an idiot, as I walk up to it and climb inside.
In the past few weeks I haven’t paid much attention to him, but now that I have a job I think I’ll have more of a reason to spend time with him.
I’m a maid for the SinClare house.
It’s a job that Skyler set up for me, as a way to help with my family situation. Today is my third day. My job is to mostly clean, but I get to hang out with Skyler on my breaks. He always picks me up from home and drops me off after my work is done. I’m thankful for the little bit of time I can spend with him here and there.
We arrived at his house three hours ago. So far I’ve cleaned the bathrooms- all seven of them- and two of the five kitchens. This place seems so endless. I’m used to cleaning at home, but Skyler’s home is so big that I feel like it’ll take me an eternity just to clean every room once. It’s hard. I already feel exhausted as I move onto my break.
I sit at the table in the first kitchen, drinking out of a bottle of water. Skyler sits across from me.
“You know what would make your job easier?” He asks as he stares at me with mischievous eyes.
“What?” I mouth, knowing that he’s up to no good.
Skyler smirks as I take the bait. “If you wore a french maid outfit while you cleaned.” He gestures as he says the words. His muffled voice sounds husky.
I roll my eyes, trying not to laugh at his ridiculousness. “Pervert.” I mumble out with a shake of my head.
I peer down at my outfit of a plain black t-shirt and a pair of navy blue athletic shorts. No way would I ever consider wearing a maid outfit. French or other wise. The thought of it is laughable. It wouldn’t suit me at all. There’s just no way.
Skyler’s leg brushed against mine from under the table. “Just kidding,” he says with a chuckle. “You wouldn’t be you if you wore something like that. I like you the way you are now. Messy hair, conservative clothes, red and sweaty face, those eyes that make it clear that you want to punch me right now...” He signed out with a grin plastered on his face.
He’s such a smooth bastard.
I flick him off, but lose the fight to subdue the smile that threatens to leak out. I can’t help but bite the left corner of my bottom lip, as the right corner of my lip tugs upwards.
“I got you to smile. I win.” Skyler replied smugly.
I take a swig of my water as I roll my eyes at him yet again. He acts like such a child sometimes. I like this childish side of his, though.
I look over at the clock on the wall. My break is almost up. Even though I could take advantage of my relationship with Skyler- which is still undefined at the moment- I decide against it. I want to be serious about this job.
“Time to go back to working.” I sign as I move to stand up.
Skyler stands as well. He grabs my waist, pulling me closer to him. He kisses my forehead lightly. I feel my face heat up. “Don’t over do it.” I feel the words against my skin before he lets me go.
I offer up a silent nod before turning to go finish cleaning the remaining kitchens.
As it gets later I feel even more exhausted.
I’ve been here for eight hours now. I’ve cleaned every single bathroom and kitchen as well as half of the living rooms on the first floor, from top to bottom.
After my shift as a maid is over, I decided to hang out with Skyler in his room. We drink soda and eat potato chips as we play Halo together on his flat screen tv.
I’m still tired, but I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to sleep. I just want to continue being here with Skyler. I don’t care if all we’re doing is snacking and playing video games, or the fact that I know I probably look gross from cleaning.
This time together is precious to me, regardless of the details. Everything is perfect as long as I get to be here with him. He’s the only one who makes me feel like I belong. He’s the only one who doesn’t see me as the “deaf girl”. I’m not just a walking hearing impairment to him. With him I’m just me. Nothing more and nothing less. Just Risa.
I get distracted and he kills me- several times in a row. God, I hate losing.
I feel frustrated as we play again. I’m not as good as he is at this. It’s clear. He beats me again before we deside to call it quits. I really am such a sore loser. I can’t stand losing at anything, though losing is inevitable since I can’t win at everything.
I toss the controller down. “Why are you so perfect?” I ask as I make a face at him.
Skyler tosses his controller down as well before using the remote to turn off the television. “I’m not perfect.” He says as he looks at me. I watch as he adverts his eyes for a moment. “If I was perfect things would be a lot different than they are now.” He doesn’t sign those words, but I can see them on his lips.
I think I hit a nerve somewhere, though I’m not sure.
I open my mouth to apologize, but I don’t know how to. I don’t know what I should be apologizing for. I don’t want to make things any worse.
I inch closer to him, grabbing his hand, lacing my fingers through his. “Skyler,” I whisper out. His eyes snap up to look at me. “When I say you’re perfect I don’t mean it literally. Being the dictionary term of perfection is completely impossible. In my eyes all I can see is the good in you. You aren’t a perfect person by nature, but you’re perfect to me.” I tell him. I feel incredible cheesy as I say out the words. It’s the truth though. I can’t apologize, but I can say this much. I need him to know just what I’m feeling and thinking right now. Maybe then he’ll understand what I’m trying to tell him.
The emotions in his eyes give him away. At first he looks upset, but then he seems to calm down. He squeezed my hand lightly before lifting it up to his mouth so he can kiss the back of it. As he moves my hand away from his mouth, he gives me a half smile. “Thanks. I needed to hear that.” He replies back. Skyler then leans in and presses his lips softly against my own.
His kisses make me feel weird still. In a good way. It feels like electricity is flowing through my body. When his hands circle around my waist, my stomach feels like it’s doing back flips. Even the gentlest on touches feels so intense. I want more. He always leaves me craving for more. I just want to drown in his kisses and touches.
I press my lips harder against his as I allow my hands to press against his broad shoulders. I nip at his bottom lip gently, and he nips my bottom lip back in return. As I go to pull away from the kiss, he pulls me down on top of him. I have one leg on either side of him as I press my body up against his. I feel his tongue touch against my lips. My mouth opens slowly and our tongues met to dance against each other.
I feel like I’m losing control as we continue on. I don’t know when it happened, but somehow in the midst of things we both lose our shirts. Skyler pulls me off of him. I get up to go lay on his bed, slipping off my shorts in the process so I’m only in my bra and underwear.
His eyes search my body, but I don’t feel shy.
I let my own eyes rake down his body, checking out the the muscles on his arms and abdomen. I want to feel those muscles pressed up against my body.
He crawls onto the bed, hovering over me. “Risa,” his lips move. His blue eyes are dark and intense. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but my guess is it’s not exactly something pure minded.
He gives me a few light kisses before he moves away. I watched in confusion as he picked up my clothes and tosses it towards me. “Put them back on.” He says, looking conflicted by his own words.
I don’t question him. I just do as he says. Once I’m properly dressed I feel awkward.
Did he just reject me?
Did this really just happen?
I don’t like this feeling. I feel foolish.
Was the electricity one-sided?
“I know what you’re thinking,” Skyler signs out quickly, a frown marring his face. “It’s not that I don’t want to. I do, but I want to do things right. If we do this now, you’ll feel terrible later. Give it some time. I want to take you out first. We never had our date. I can’t assume anymore. I’m going to take you on a date and officially ask you to be my girlfriend, okay? That’s the way I want things to be. So please just bare with me.” He continued on.
My worry and negative thoughts seem to drift away. He’s way too good to be true. I didn’t think there was such thing as a guy who would want to wait until things were official. I like this side of him. He’s so sweet and gentle. He makes my heart beat so fast.
“Okay,” I respond with a smile.
Before the weekend comes we settle on having our first date on Saturday.
The morning of the date I wake up feeling giddy. I want so badly for everything to go right today. After all the horrid things that have been thrown my way, I really need this to be my light in a period on darkness. Everything needs to go perfectly.
As I get ready, I decide to keep my hair down. It’s grown a little so it’s now an inch past my shoulders. I brush it out the best I can so it won’t be too frizzy. I wash my face good, brush my teeth until my gums sting, and put on a little bit of make up. I then dress in an outfit I picked out last night- I wear my favorite pair of jeans, a cream colored ruffled tank top, and a pair of red hightops. I also make sure I have my hearing aids in properly. I then check that everything I need is in my purse.
A quarter before twelve pm, I get a text message from Skyler telling me that he’s at the door. I put my phone in my back pocket before making my way to the front door.
I lock up the apartment before letting Skyler lead me to his truck. He opens the passenger side door for me, and helps me inside.
“You look gorgeous.” He gestures to me.
“You’re not so bad yourself.” I sign back as I take in how he looks. He’s dressed in a dark green button down t-shirt, a pair of nice dark wash jeans, dark brown flip flops, and a tan colored beanie covering the top of his blonde hair.
He gestures out a thank you before closing the door. Skyler then goes to the other side of his truck, getting in. It doesn’t take long before he’s driving out of the apartment complexes’ parking lot, and out onto the road.
I don’t know where we’re going, but I do know I’d go anywhere as long as I’m with him.
The drive isn’t very long. Skyler parks the truck in a roller skating rink parking lot.
After he opens the door, he helps me out of his truck. We head to the front of the building where there’s a pay window. He pays for the tickets with a credit card before we enter the interior of the building. The place is crowded with children, parents, and couples. Usually I don’t like crowds, but the atmosphere here isn’t bad. It seems kinda fun. I’ve never been to a place like this anyhow, so it’s something different.
We pick up a pair of skates each at the side counter. Size seven for me; size eleven for Skyler. We both sit down as we take off our shoes. Skyler pulls out a pair of socks and puts them on his feet before putting on the skates. I lace up my own skates and tie them. Once we’re both ready we hold hands as we stand up. I feel wobbly as we skate together towards the polished wooden floor in the center.
It’s different than skateboarding. I feel less in control. I’m not used to moving the way you’re supposed to with skates on. Skyler helps me though. It’s apparent that he’s done this before. He’s careful to make sure I don’t fall or run into anyone, as he skates with me around the rink.
Once I get the hang of things, I’m able to skate on my own without his help. It’s actually really fun. We race each other around the rink, weaving in between other people, and laughing whenever one of us passes the other. We just keep going like that until we’re both worn out to the point that we need to rest.
“Having fun?” He asks me as we sit on a bench together.
I nod. I really am having fun. I like skating with Skyler. I like being with him in general.
After our break we go back out onto the floor. We skate together for a long while before we both decide that we’re finished. After our skates are off and returned, we head back out to his truck.
Another short ride later we end up in front of a seafood restaurant.
The place doesn’t seem to have many people around, but Skyler reassures me that the food there is amazing.
We are seated at a window seat. I notice immediately that the inside of the restaurant is decorated in sea shells, pictures of fish, and a mural of a coral reef. It’s interesting and colorful. After looking at the menus the waitress takes our order. I decide on shrimp scampi, while Skyler orders fish and chips.
“How is your mom doing?” He asks me.
“She’s doing better. No scares since she’s been home. She’s taking it easy, which is surprising. I’m just glad that she’s okay. I don’t know what I’d do without my mom.” I respond honestly.
It’s a relief to know that she’s no longer working herself to death. I never ever want to find her passed out on the ground again. I don’t think I’d be able to deal with it a second time. Just the thought of it makes me uneasy.
I see a hint of sadness in Skyler’s eyes, but it disappears quickly. He gives me a smile that only seems half sincere. “I’d glad she’s okay too.” He tells me.
Something is off about him, but I don’t want to push it, and risk making him upset.
We sit in silence as we wait for our food. When it comes out it smells and look delicious. I eat all my food quickly, while Skyler takes his time. I have all mine done when he only has half of his down. I’m patient as I wait for him to finish.
When he finishes he pays the bill. We leave shortly after that.
We just drive around the area for a while, not saying anything to each other. It’s 6:33 pm by the time I get home.
I sit in his parked truck, turned to look straight at him. We haven’t talked since before we got our food at the restaurant. I just want him to say or sign something. I feel like I did something wrong, but I can’t think of anything I did wrong. It makes me nervous. I don’t want to be the first to say anything though.
“Sorry that I’ve been a little cold towards you for a moment. I guess I just started to really miss my mom when you were talking about yours. I didn’t know I could miss someone so much...” He said, as his eyes gazed towards anything but me.
I open my mouth to ask about his mom, but close it. If he wants me to know he’ll tell me. I know I would mad if he were prying into my life. I’ll just have to wait.
“It’s okay.” I finally manage to tell him.
He finally looks at me again.
I smile at him.
He return the smile, seeming to feel better now. He then leans close to me until I can feel his breath tickling the skin next to my ear. His lips press against the spot just below my ear. I can feel his lips move and feel the rumble of his voice as he speaks, “Klarrisa Lark, will you be my girlfriend?”
I pull back my head to look at him. “Yes,” I whisper out before leaning in to kiss him.
We stay together in his truck for a while longer, just kissing and holding each other close. When it starts to get dark I finally end up getting out. I wave to him from my doorway before going inside.
I can’t wipe the dumb grin off my face as I walk into my room.
After I wash my face, brush my teeth, and change into my night clothes, I check my phone since I haven’t checked it all day.
I have one message. I go to open it, expecting it to be from Skyler, even though I just saw him moments ago.
Instead it’s a message from an unsaved number.
A familiar unsaved number.
“I’m back in town. I want to see you.”
I quickly realize just who the message is from. Even though I deleted his number I still have it memorized clear in my mind.
I have a bad feeling about this...