Love is Not Only Blind, But Deaf Too

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Chapter 3

The truth behind the reason why I don’t wear hearing aids isn’t because they’re annoying, or because they don’t work properly.

I just tell people that.

Hell, I also try to tell myself that so I’ll forget.

Those reasons are just minor compared to the main reason for why I don’t wear hearing aids.

Hearing aids are expensive. Or at least good quality hearing aids are expensive. Buying hearing aids only put my mom in more debt. After ending up with four sets of damaged hearing aids, thanks to my childhood classmates, I finally told my mom that I didn’t want another. There was no reason to continue to pile on the debt, and overly exhaust her when I knew that any other hearing aid she bought would only have the same fate.

All four sets of hearing aids met their fate during middle school. They were broken by three bitches who thought it was okay to bully and harass me. They didn’t like it that I stood up for myself, so they thought it was okay to hold me down, snatch out my hearing aids, and smash them. After the fourth set was broken. I lashed out and punched the closest bitch to me. In the end I got my ass handed to me because those three don’t fight fair.

After the teachers broke up the fight, we were hauled into the assistant principal’s office. The worst part is, even when I told the assistant principal the cause to the fight- even when I tried to get them held responsible for it- those bitches accused me of breaking all those hearing aids myself, lying to cover it up. Just like in the fight it was three against one. Even though there were witnesses, no one stuck up for me or told the truth. After all sticking up for Klarrisa Lark would be like wearing a target on your back. No one was going to stick their neck out for me. It was easier to join in or turn a blind eye.

In the end of that matter I was suspended for two weeks, and to top it off had to write an apology letter to all three girls.

So, that’s the truth behind why I don’t wear hearing aids.

To say I had a rough night would be an understatement. I cried. I cried a lot. I couldn’t stop crying after Skyler left. I had felt that whole bottle of tears and frustrations uncork just from that one simple thing he said. “The person who you really don’t care about, is yourself.” The words still resonate in my mind even now.

I don’t bother to put on any makeup or to even deal with my skateboard today. I dress in jeans and an old, unflattering baggy t-shirt. I also pull my shoulder length hair back into a tiny pony tail. Looking cute today is my last priority.

Hell, I even do the unthinkable and ask my mom to drive me to school today before she goes off to work. My mom jumps at the offer, since we see each other very little at it is.

When I get to school, second period must have just ended because the students are all filed around the courtyard to socialize during the short seven minute break period in between classes.

I reluctantly opened the door to my mom’s crappy ’99 Acura. “Have a good day.” I read the words off my mom’s lips. I just gave a half smile before getting out of the car, closing the door after I’m fully out. She waves before driving off.

I sigh as I move to open the gate leading to hell- again I mean high school, but really what’s the difference?

I try my best to get through the crowds of people swarming around the courtyard. I swerve and maneuver around as many socializing teenagers as I can. I only am half way through before I catch sight of Demetri being awfully friend with bitch number one, Paisley Meccah. As if honing in on the fact that I’m in sight, Paisley steals a side glance at me before brushing her fingers through Demetri’s wavy dark brown locks. She leans over seeming like she’s whispering something in his ear, but I can’t read her lips from here. Whatever she says, Demetri’s grin makes it obvious that he likes it.

I glare in their direction before whirling around, trying to make my way out of the swarm. I’m almost out when I’m intercepted by bitch number two, Morgan Strife, and bitch number three, Nancy Lee. No matter how much I try to side step them, they still block my way. Morgan grabs my arm with her long manicured claws. She says something, but I can’t make it out. My eyes drift to Nancy who seemed to holler out another thing that I can’t quite make out.

Next thing I know the swarm of people parts as if Moses parting the red sea. Paisley and Demetri stand in the middle. Demetri drops his hand from Paisley’s shoulder when he notices me. He tilts his head down as if he knows he was wrong, but doesn’t want to be called out on it. Especially not in front of others.

Typical fucking Demetri. He “loves” me when were alone, but if there are people involved then he couldn’t give a rat’s ass about me. It’s all about protecting his reputation as mister popular. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with him when all he does is hurt me like this.

Paisley walks up to me, towering over me with help from her neck breaking high heels. Who the hell wears stripper heels to school?
She wraps a finger around a strand of her peroxide blonde hair as she leans in close to me. “I missed you in gym. If I didn’t know better I’d say you’re avoiding it for some reason. I wonder why?” The way her lips move when she speaks leads me to believe she is being condescending.

This snooty bitch…

“I don’t like getting sweaty.” I lie as I shrug Morgan’s clawed grip off my arm.

“Sorry? What was that? I can’t understand you? Speak English.” Paisley seems to mock as she puts a hand to her ear.

I looked around at the crowd on both sides of us. It seemed like they were amused by this all. My eyes then dart to find Demetri. His head is still tilted down. He’s pretending as if he doesn’t see anything. What an asshole.

I guess I’m alone in this. Not that it’s anything new.

“I’ll speak ‘English’ when you grow a brain, you fake as a Barbie bitch.” I slur out before turning to try to leave.

Nancy and Morgan block my way again.

“You’re in for it now.” Nancy’s mouth seemed to curl as she speaks.

I feel someone grab my pony tail and pull hard on it. Paisley tightly pulls my head back so I can see her face. “Know your place, you dumb slut.” She seems to seethe out. “You walk around like you think you’re so great. Your face never ceases to irritate me.”

I smirked at her, not wanting to let her win. “What are you going to do? Break my non-existent hearing aids again?” I retort.

I see her clench her teeth in response. She pulls harder at my hair. I try my best not to wince at the sting of pain at my roots.

Everything after that seems to happened so fast.

More hair tugging, more taunting, Nancy and Morgan stomp on my shoes, after that the three girls take turns pushing me around and screeching at me. I just stay emotionless and let it happen.

There is no escaping it. Or at least I didn’t think there was, but miraculously someone tugs me free from the three bitches and shields me so they can’t get at me anymore.

Huh? Has Demetri finally grown a pair or do any of the kids in school finally feel an inch of guilt for letting this type of bullying go on?

No. I don’t think so.

I blink, trying to focus on the tall figure in front of me. My eyes zoom in on broad shoulders and a familiar head of shaggy dark blonde hair. Skyler?

I think he’s saying something. I’m not sure what because I can’t see his face, but whatever it is that he says, breaks up the crowd immediately. The swarm of people scatter off, the three bitches included. Once the courtyard has cleared, Skyler turns towards me.

He’s the last person I expect to save me from my tormentors.

“Are you okay?” He signs.

“Do you even care?” I gesture back a bit begrudgingly, making it obvious that I am still angry about yesterday.

He rubs his hand over his face, shaking his head at me. “Jeez, Risa. Is this how you thank someone? What do you mean do I even care? I just helped you. Why would I help you if I didn’t care?” He questions.

Even though he has helped me, I still can’t stop being so guarded. “You shouldn’t have done that. They’ll be after you.” I mouth as my hands moved to convey what I want to say.

“Just let them try.” He gestures back, oozing confidence.

He then turns and starts to walk away. When he notices I’m following, he stops and turns to look at me. “Come on, let’s skip the rest of the day.” He mouths before turning around and starting to walk again.

I hesitate.

Is it really a good idea? It is true that I don’t feel like going to classes at all now, but I still didn’t know Skyler very well. Besides, it’s not like yesterday went very well. Still, do I really want to go to a classroom filled with people who don’t like me or give a damn about me?

I weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

I jog to catch up with him. He smiles at me once I have caught up to him. The two of us walk side by side towards the student parking lot.

Skyler drives and drive until he reached a gated neighborhood at the edge of town. He leans over to punch a code into the keypad. Once he presses enter, the gates open slowly. He drives into the nicest neighborhood I have ever seen. We pass huge house after huge house until we reached a three story mansion like structure. Skyler parks in the drive way. “Home sweet home.” He mouths as he turns his keys out of the ignition. He gets out, but I don’t. He walks over to the passenger side door and opens it for me.

“What’s wrong?” He asks.

“You’re rich?” I question with narrowed eyes, feeling like I had been tricked somehow. What type of rich guy drives a Ford?

He shrugs in response. “I’m not, my dad is. There’s a difference.” He replies.

“If you’re rich, why do you drive this crappy truck?” I gesture skeptically.

Skyler smiles as he starts moving his hands quickly to respond, “Because my dad’s money means nothing to me if I can’t earn my own.”

What a perfect response.

I nod in acceptance before stepping out of his truck.

We make our way to the front door of the huge home. He keeps his keys in hand, sorting through them before he finds the key to the front door. He opens the door and holds it for me so I can go in first.

The entryway has high ceiling with a crystal chandelier that swoops down in the middle on the entryway. There are tall expensive looking vases and exotic looking potted plants lining each side of the wall. It is so grand that I feel like I’m out of place here. I turn to look at Skyler as he shuts the front door; I notice that he looks just as out of place as I feel.

He grabs my hand to lead me out of the entry way. We walk together through the living room, which has even more luxurious, and towards the staircase.

We then walk up to the second floor of the house. Skyler takes me to a room that he calls the “activity room”. He opens the double doors, and turns on the lights to reveal a room that is ten times the size of my bedroom. There are bean bag chairs littering the floors, a seventy two inch plasma screen TV on the wall, a few different gaming systems, a ping pong table, a little area with crossword puzzles and word search books, an area of tables cluttered by bins filled with arts and crafts supplies, yoga mats rolled up in one corner, and what looks like a huge stereo system in another corner of the room. It’s a lot to take in at once.

“I thought you don’t care about money?” I ask.

He throws his hand back to laugh. “I mean I don’t, but there are perks. If I didn’t use this room half of this stuff would go to waste. Minus the yoga mats. That’s my stepmother’s.” He replies back.

I nod before glancing around again. “What do you recommend?” I sign.

Skyler smiles softly. “I have a deck of cards somewhere. Do you want to play poker?” He signs back.

“Poker? With only two people?” I raised an eyebrow as I move my hands.

He nods. “Yeah. If I win a round you have to answer one of my questions, but if you win I have to answer one of your questions. Fair enough?” He replies.

I think about it at first, a bit unsure. I bite my lip hard as I think of how to respond.


Skyler deals the cards expertly. We have decided on playing by Texas Hold’em rules. Though since there are only two of us we aren’t allowed to fold. Skyler slams an ace of spades on the table, then a 4 of diamonds, a 7 of hearts, and a king of hearts.

I looked at my hand. A two of clubs and a seven of spades. I hope that Skyler doesn’t have a better hand.

When we show our cards, Skyler reveals he has a king and a nine both of club suits. So his pair of kings easily trumps my pair of sevens.

As I shuffled the deck, I then deal Skyler as he thinks about his question.

“What’s the crown pendent around your neck supposed to be about?” He asks, gazing down at the necklace.

I reach up to touch it, having forgotten that I didn’t take it off last time. “Uh... Well the guy I’m dating gave it to me to make up for being such a jerk all the time... Though I think it’s also a bit mocking since he calls me Deaf Princess all the time.” I explain before picking up my cards.

Skyler doesn’t reply as he picks up his cards. He beat me six times in a row, including the first round. Not even joking. I finally get mad at my lousy luck and quit like the sore loser I always am.

The questions pretty much go like this:

Skyler asks what my favorite color is.
I responded blue.

He asks what type of movies I liked.
I tell him my favorite are the old black and white silent films.

He asks if I have any pets.
I easily answer no.

He asks what my favorite food is.
I tell him macaroni and cheese.

For his final question he seemed to ponder for a while.

“What were your thoughts yesterday when you almost drowned?” He asks.

I stare off in space for a while, trying to remember back to the calmness I felt, and how it felt like the ocean had absorbed all the rage and aggression. At that time I had wanted to stay down in the water, being washed up by the waves until I was new again. I didn’t want to ever resurface.

“I don’t remember.” I lie.

Skyler seems to eye me skeptically as if he doesn’t believe me. His blue eyes seem to look not at me, but through me, like he is seeing into my soul.

“Liar.” He mouths.

“Shut up.” I sign back defensively before busying myself with cleaning up the card game.

Once we have the cards picked up and put away, we play a game of ping pong which I end up winning. Then after that we do a mini arts in crafts time where we draw quick portraits of each other.

The mini arts session makes me feel refreshed. Each stroke of the pencil over the paper helps to make me just a little less angry at Skyler.

Truth be told, I like sketching his face. He’s handsome in a boyish way and has strong features that make it interesting to copy onto paper. I also like how soft and unkempt his hair looks.

When we reveal our pictures to each other, he looks at his first. “Wow, you’re really good at this.” He tells me before skimming his finger over the sketch of his face. “It looks like a mirror image almost.”

I beam proudly at his acknowledgment of my skills. Art is probably the one thing I am confident about.

I then look at his drawing of me. His drawing is less realistic than mine, but more breath taking. He uses only dots, dashes, and short lines to draw a head shot. The girl who stares back at me looks emotionless and doll like. She isn’t me, but at the same time she is me. It’s so chilling that I almost don’t want to put it down.

“Is this how you see me?” I ask.

Skyler looks to the drawing before looking back at me. He shakes his head. “No, this is who I see you pretending to be.”

At that reply I let my eyes glaze over, feeling a bit insulted. Who I’m pretending to be? Really? Is that necessary to say. I crumple the drawing up before tossing it down.

“What is your problem?” I gesture angrily.

“I was going to ask you the same thing.” He counters back, picking up the piece of paper from off the floor.

I glare as I step closer to him, until my face is about five inches back from his chest. “You piss me off. Stop acting like you know me. You know nothing. Nothing at all.” I mouth as I make the angry movements right in his face.

He looks back at me with that same angry and pitiful look that he had yesterday when I tried to hit him. He then drops the paper back onto the floor. “I know I don’t know you. I want to know you though. Do you not get it? When I saw you in the nurse’s office I knew from the first glance. Risa, you’re killing yourself. You’re slowly killing yourself with the way you act out and the way you let yourself and others beat on you. You give off a lifeless feel, but on the inside I think you’re hurting. The first thing I thought when I saw you was that I wanted to make those eyes shine with life. I wanted to stop you from hurting so much on the inside, because I know what it feels like. I know it too well. I can’t stand to see others suffer like that.” He erupts in a fury of perfect sign language.

I watch him the whole time, waiting for his hands to stop their skillful movements. “Don’t you dare declare that I’m some lifeless shell of a person who’s hurting on the inside. I’m not slowly killing myself. You can go fuck yourself if that’s what you think. I don’t need you. I don’t need anyone. I’m fine on my own.” I counter back before whirling around.

Skyler grabs my arm and twirls me back around to look at him. “Liar.” He mouths for the second time today.

He’s right.

I’m a liar, but that’s what I’ve had to be. That’s how I’ve survived all these years. I lie to myself, because the truth always seems much more devastating.

I feel tears form in my eyes.

I hate him.
I hate him for trying to pry himself inside even though I hardly know him.
I hate him for seeing right through me.
I hate him for making me realize the pain.
I hate him for making me cry.
I hate him for realizing what a liar I am.
I hate myself for lying again, because I don’t really hate Skyler at all.

He wraps his arms around me, pulling me into a hug. We stay like that for a while- Skyler holding me tight as I stain his t-shirt with tears.

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