Love is Not Only Blind, But Deaf Too

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Chapter 20

We’re all born into this world the same. Or at least as far as we know at that point. A new born baby hasn’t yet learned how to hate or love. Nor do they fully understand the difference of being disabled, deformed, ill, or healthy. “Normal” or “abnormal” isn’t a concept our little brains are programmed to automatically know.

The point is that we are all born a blank slate uninfluenced by the world. We learn these things as we age and grow. Some people accept that everyone has differences, while others fear and act hostile towards those different from them.

At what point between birth and getting older do we learn to hate others just for the hell of it? It’s a learned behavior, but who teaches it to us? Family? Friends? Society? How do we overcome the judgments we have of others, as well as the judgment others have of ourselves? Is it even possible?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. What I do know though, is that change doesn’t come all at once. It happens gradually. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the change.

I know I wasn’t.

If you already didn’t know- My name is Klarrisa Lark, though I go by Risa. I was born with a hearing impairment, which made it hard for me to relate or communicate with others.

As I got older bullying and harassment occurred. I began to get used to it to the point that I disliked myself as much as they disliked me. I let others do horrible things to me, because I thought I deserved it. I thought I was a burden to my own mother even though she loved me regardless of everything. I also thought no one would ever understand me. It was easier for me to walk about angry and careless towards everything and everyone.

A lot of times I felt like my peers treated me like I was some big walking ear that couldn’t quite function. I was labeled as too difficult to communicate with.
They didn’t even try.
After a while I stopped trying too since I was tired of being used and neglected.

I didn’t know how to love anyone or even myself.
I hated myself for being different.
I hated others for pointing it out.
I thought everyone was the same.
I thought no one would ever love me or see me for who I was.

Or at least that was how it was before I met Skyler SinClare.

Honestly, I thought he was nosy at first. He pried in my business, and constantly made me feel irritated at him. However, I let him invade my life despite all of that. Skyler was the only person who took the time to get to know me. He was the only one who tried to understand me. He could see past my facade. He could see I was hurting, because he himself was hurting as well.

As I hung out with Skyler I learned more about him, but I learned even more things about myself and about how I was acting. He helped me see just how broken and reckless I had become. He helped me piece myself back together.

It wasn’t easy.

There was a lot of drama on the way- bullies, jealousy, a crazy ex boyfriend, fights, my mom collapsing, me being kidnapped and assaulted, my ex boyfriend dying, Skyler ignoring me, Skyler’s painful past- the rocky start of Skyler and I’s future together.

We both have things we can’t say, things that are too painful for us. Still, as long as I’m with him I feel just a little less alone. I hope he feels the same way I do.

It only takes one person to make you realize that you want to change for the better- one person who understands you and loves you regardless of your faults- one person who you truly can’t imagine life without.

Skyler is that person for me.

Sometimes I feel like everything is way too surreal. It’s hard for me to understand how things ended up this way.

How did we fall in love?

Why did such a thing as falling in love happen when everything is such a mess?

I was emotionally damaged. He was broken but trying to heal. We just kind of crashed together. He helped me with my flaws and I overlooked his.

Love really is blind, huh?

I ended up failing my junior year of high school. I spent the whole summer and then some just making up for the classes I failed just so I’d be able to join the senior class. Skyler ended up passing with the minimum GPA to advance.

I didn’t see him much over the summer other than sometimes when he’d come over to help me study.

Today is the start of my senior year. It’s weird to look back at everything that happened during the spring.
I feel like I’m starting school as a completely different person than I was last school year.

The old Risa wouldn’t have cared about failing, and she sure as hell wouldn’t have spent her free time making up for it. No, she wouldn’t have cared at in. In fact she probably would have dropped out. However I don’t want to do that. I actually want to start this school year off right. No more skipping classes. It’s time for me to be serious.

Skyler’s not as serious as I am about the school thing, but that’s another story since Skyler already has a job lined up for him after high school.

I however have decided to go to college eventually. Maybe not immediately, because money is tight- but when I can I’ve decided I want to be become a teacher for children with disabilities.

I woke up early this morning to get ready. After brushing my teeth and showering, I had gotten dressed in a nice t-shirt and jeans. I then pinned back the bangs of my hair, which is now several inches past my shoulder, before putting on a little make up. I packed up my school bag, ate an apple, and am now waiting outside my apartment for Skyler. All before seven am.

I only wait a few minutes before Skyler pulls into the lot. He gets out of his truck to open the door for me. Even though I healed up nicely after the kidnapping incident, he still treats me like I’m delicate and precious. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t secretly like it. He’s always so gentle with me. He always seems to put me first before anything else. I like this side of him the most.

Maybe I’m selfish, or maybe I just like being spoiled by him? I’m not sure. Either way I like the way he almost always opens the passenger side door for me even though he doesn’t have to.

I kiss his cheek before crawling inside the truck. He closes the door behind me before going back around to the driver’s side. He gets in, puts the truck into drive, and then pulls out onto the road heading to school.

The first day goes by quickly. I sit in the front of the room in every class ,and I even stay after to talk to the teachers about accommodations. In the past I wouldn’t have bothered, but now I think I deserve an equal education just like anyone else. Before I didn’t want to learn, but now that I do I can’t help but make sure that this last year I’ll be able to at least get decent grades. I want to graduate of my own power.

I actually talked to a few people in my classes. I wouldn’t say I made any friends yet, but it’s promising. I have no classes with the three girls who bullied me last year. My classmates this year seem friendly. Hopefully they’ll look past all the rumors, and the mishaps that happened last school year. For once I want people to know the real me rather than just letting them assume whatever they want.

I also have a few classes with Skyler. We have British Literature, American Government, and Health class together. We also met at lunch. Besides those three classes I’m also taking Pre-college Math, Chemistry, Painting I, Psychology, and five classes online to still continue to make up for my failing grades last year.

When the bell rings to signify the end of the first day I feel relieved that not only is it over, but that it went well.

Skyler meets me in the hallway. We hold hands as we walk together to his truck. Things have been going well for awhile. We’re both communicating well. Skyler doesn’t keep things from me anymore and I try not to scare him as much as I used to. Everything seems good.

I’m so in love with him to the point that the giddy feeling I get with him never goes away. He is my best friend, my rock, my boyfriend, my everything. I can’t even think about what my life was without him. It’s so natural to just have him by my side all the time.

After school Skyler drives me to Miles H. Hollis Mental Health Center.

I’m doing therapy now, which I should have started a long time ago. I just started a few weeks ago. Today is my second session. Skyler stays in the waiting room as I’m called back

Dr. Hollis is patient and quiet. He also knows sign language, which makes it easier for me. I tell him about all the struggles I’ve been through in a brief summarized version. He has me talk more about what I went through with Demetri. I can’t help but cry as I struggle to explain how I felt, and what I was put through. I told him I thought it was my fault. If I hadn’t dated Demetri in the first place not only would he be alive, but he wouldn’t have treated me the way he did. I also tell him how dirty and used up I feel. I can’t forget the way he touched me. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.

Dr. Hollis is quick to correct me.“It’s not your fault. This guy must have been not right in the head. A normal person would not have reacted that way. No matter what you did, you didn’t deserve to be scared, beaten, or almost raped by him. Your not dirty or used up. You went through a bad experience, but that doesn’t define you. You are a beautiful young woman who has experienced a terrible trauma. While it may be easy to blame yourself you shouldn’t. The physical abuse and sexual abuse were not your fault. Neither was his death. You did nothing wrong. You are a survivor. You should remember that.” He tells me with a smile.

I feel a tiny bit better, and slightly touched by the words me signs to me.

When the session is over I pay the $30 co-pay before Skyler ushers me out the door and to his truck.

We decide on getting ice cream. Skyler drives us to an old ice cream parlor at an outdoor mall near his house. I get a vanilla waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles and caramel syrup, while Skyler gets a sugar cone with chocolate frozen yogurt and bits of granola sprinkled on top. We walk down the sidewalk, window shopping as we eat our cones.

After we’re both done with our ice cream/ frozen yogurt, we decide to go to his house.

The drive isn’t long. When we get there Skyler curses when he sees his dad’s car in the driveway.

His dad doesn’t like me. That’s clear as day, since he wants Skyler to stay away from me.

Skyler suggests going to my apartment instead, but I shake my head. We’re always avoiding his father. If we keep doing that nothing will ever change. “Let’s go in.” I sign with a small smile.

I don’t care if Mr. SinClare doesn’t like me. I really don’t. Still, I want him to eventually come to like me since he is Skyler’s father. I don’t want to have to constantly avoid him. There’s no point in it since he’ll only continue to dislike me more that way.

As soon as we walk through the door, Mr. SinClare greets us.

I still can’t believe how much Skyler looks like a younger version of him.

The older man’s face twists up slightly when he eyes me as if to say “you’re not good enough for my son”.

I ignore it as I greet him. “Hello Mr. SinClare.” I say with the best smile I can manage. “I’ve met you briefly a few times. I’m Klarrisa Lark, Skyler’s girlfriend. It’s nice to formally meet you.” I can’t tell how I sound. My words are probably slurred and a bit clumsy, but I’m sure he gets what I’m saying. I stick my hand out towards him.

Mr. SinClare eyes me skeptically. At first I don’t think he’ll accept it. After a few more seconds the man finally reaches out to shake my hand. “My name is Thomas SinClare. You may call me Thomas. It’s nice to meet you Ms. Lark.” He says firmly with a tight smile.

“Call me Risa.” I reply back.

Even if he doesn’t like me at least this is a start. The more he gets to know me the more he’ll hopefully begin to realize how much I truly love his son.

The weekdays passes by quickly. Monday night turns to Friday night with in a blink of an eye.

Today is Saturday morning.

It’s my birthday. I’ve just turned seventeen.

It’s weird to think that last year on my birthday I was dating a guy who didn’t treat me right, but this year I finally found the one person who treasures me the most.

Things have changed so much that it almost seems unreal. I might wake up, and this will all be a dream. It’s not a dream though. All of this is real.

Skyler texts me to be ready by four pm. He tells me to dress nice, and that he has some surprises for me.

I do my make up, brush out the knots in my hair, pin back my bangs, dress in my lacy black dress with a pair of black flats, and fish out a small pocket purse to put my phone and money in.

Exactly at four, Skyler’s waiting for me outside my apartment. Like always he gets out of the driver’s side to open the door for me, and help me into his truck.

I notice he’s wearing a gray suit jacket, a gray pair of dress pants, black dress shoes, a white button down shirt, and a light blue tie. His usually messy hair is slicked back as well. He looks as handsome as ever.

He drives for about an hour or more before parking outside this fancy museum like building. I read the sign, “Tampa Art Museum”. I feel excited just seeming the words “art”. I love art more than anything so I’m happy that Skyler knows me well enough to know that.

We get out before going inside. There’s no else there but us. Skyler tells me he rented out the museum for a few hours. I’m shocked to know this.

So it’s just us besides the staff as we walk from exhibit to exhibit. The art work here is breath taking. I can’t believe I finally for the first time was able to go to such a nice art museum.

After our few hours are up we head back to Skyler’s truck. He then drives for thirty or so minutes before we reach a fancy Italian restaurant. We enter the place. Skyler says his last name. The hostess checks a list before nodding and leading us to a private table in a dim lit room with candle lighting.

It’s beautiful. Everything is beautiful.

We sit at a small round table. Our knees touch each other since we’re so close. A waiter comes out to take our order. Skyler orders both drinks and food for me, since I’m not sure what I want.

We talk and smile at each other while we wait for our food.

The waiter brings me out an Italian cream soda and a water for Skyler, as well as a plate of hot bread sticks.

It’s a few more minutes before a heaping plate of expensive spaghetti is set down in front of Skyler and a plate of a huge pieces of fancy looking lasagna is set in front of me.

I dig into my meal. It’s so good. Like mouth watering food good. I can’t stop eating it. I imagine I probably look like a glutton right now, but I don’t care. I can’t help but shovel huge forkfuls of lasagna into my mouth. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve tasted in a long time. It’s not every day that I get to eat somewhere so nice. Expensive food usually is the most delicious, though it’s not in my budget. I’m thankful to Skyler for taking me here.

When we finish our food Skyler tells me happy birthday and how beautiful I look. I grin like an idiot, because he’s making my chest all fluttery.

After a few more minutes the waiter comes out with a piece of Italian crème cake. There’s a candle lit in it. I blow it out before eating about half the cake, giving the other half to Skyler.

We stayed at the restaurant for a little while longer just chatting to each other about nothing in particular. After awhile Skyler paid the bill before escorted me out of the restaurant.

The night air was a bit chilly as we walked to the truck. Skyler took off his jacket and hangs it over my shoulders to keep me warm.

It took a while to drive back to Skyler’s house. When we pulled into the driveway Skyler said his dad wasn’t home tonight, because he was staying at some hotel.

He then let me out of the truck, helped me down, before he walks me to the door. He lead me up to his room his hands lingering dangerously low on my back side.

He had me sit on the bed before he left the room to go get something.

I waited a few minutes before we comes back into the room with a huge blue colored gift bag.

“You didn’t have to get me anything. You did a lot for me as is.” I say as I go to remove the tissue paper. Inside the bag is a new 11 x 14 inch sketch pad and new art supplies; pencils, pens, paints, pastels, markers, color pencils, and etc.

For the second time in my life I cried happy tears. I was speechless that he would do all this for me. I felt a little bad, because I couldn’t do much for his birthday though at the same time I was grateful that he thought about me enough to do something like this.

I put everything in the bag before setting it down on the floor. “Thank you.” I breathe out before moving to kiss him on the lips.

He wraps an arm around me and presses me back against the bed.

In the morning I lay on Skyler’s bed with him right next to me. Our feet are tangled together and my head is up against his chest. Her runs his long fingers through my dark hair. We’re not really doing anything, but it’s peaceful. I feel comfortable here by his side.

I love him.

He leans down to kiss the crown of my head. He then grabs one of my hands, and uses it to form a short hand “I love you” sign. I smile as I tilt my head to look up at him.

“You’re precious.” I tell him.

He wrinkles his nose at the word precious. He lets out a small chuckle as he shakes his head. “You’re everything to me.” He then says as he signs the words for me.

I smile in reply. “You’re everything to me too.”

Because of him I found the strength to change. I hope one day I can change one more thing, my last name; however, that's along ways away from now.

Our future may be as uncertain as anything else in this world but I think we can make it through anything together as long as we try.

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