Then you tell me I’m crazy, because I should be thankful and all that shit, but let me tell you something: it’s definitely not fucking cool being the only hearie in a family that prides itself in the fact that the last hearing person is rotting away in a coffin for almost a hundred years. It’s not. Especially when you’re a kid trying to fit in.
Seriously, life would be so much easier if I just didn’t hear, like all my four brothers—what are the chances?! Good grief, I’m an anomaly. Mom told me once that she cried when they told her I could hear. Damn, I cried when I found out I could hear. Especially when the Deaf kids made it pretty clear that I’d never fit in. Nowadays, it doesn’t bother me anymore. People don’t even know I’m not deaf unless I start talking—it’s not like they introduce me as This is B-A-R-B-A-R-A, she’s hearing. Even though in middle school my sign name was the sign for hearing combined with a B, like a mark you can’t shake off. Thankfully my parents named me first, so whatever the kids called me in school didn’t stick too much past that, so it faded just like a bad nickname.
In my teen days, I wanted to piss my parents off. It had something to do with unleashing my frustration of being able to hear—or so my shrink told me. So I dated a lot of inconvenient hearing assholes. And I mean a. Lot.
Not this time.
Fuck’s sake, I’m twenty seven. And engaged to a blind guy. I swear to God, this isn’t what it looks like. I’m not trying to piss off my parents by bringing home a man who can’t communicate with them—or ever become a part of my family’s social circle. God, I have spent so many nights staring at the ceiling, trying to figure it out. Why couldn’t I fall for a nice Deaf guy, a CODA like me? Life would have been so much easier. But I love Henry and it is what it is.
Actually, it’s better than it is what it is. It’s amazing. Henry is Amazing, with a capital A, just like the D in Deaf.
I can’t deny, though—teenager me would be fucking proud at the move I just pulled.
“How do I look?” Henry steps out of the bathroom, looking great on the leather jacket over the white button down shirt, jeans and white converse shoes.
“Great,” I mumble from the bed.
He really does look great. He dressed better than I did and he’s a man. A blind man. With an impeccable fashion sense, might I add. His closet is so organized that it gives Marie Kondo a run for her money, and I suspect this is not just out of necessity—the braille labels with abbreviated letters tell him the color and the type of shirt, but even then I feel like most times he just runs his hands over the hanging clothes and knows exactly where everything is, piece by piece. So I think he gets it from his mother, the most stylish, elegant woman I’ve ever met.
“Thank you,” he offers me a cocky smile and walks forward until his knees bump against the bed. He sits down, slides his hands across the bed till he finds my ankles, then wraps his hand around them and drags me to him. I squeal.
“Stop it!” I try to get rid of him as he tickles me. “My God, Henry, you’re wrinkling my dress!”
He chuckles against my neck and his golden stubble sends shivers down my spine, as he slips one hand under the blue polka dot skirt. I nearly melt as his fingers make their way up my inner thigh. One of the best things about making sex with Henry is that everything is about touch. And man, do I love being touched by him. Sometimes his hands are everywhere, feeling me, looking for a response, and they never leave me. Something about knowing that those hands are basically his eyes only makes the entire thing more intense.
He slides my laced panties to my knees.
“Do you wanna get rid of this dress now?” He asks with a mischievous grin. “So we’ll not wrinkle it.”
I wrap my legs around his waist, my breath caught up in my chest
“So we’ll not wrinkle it.”
God, I love this man more than I’d ever love a fitting D/deaf, CODA, HoH dude. So fuck it, I’m bringing him home, I’m wearing a white dress in a big wedding party and I’m making little babies with him someday. If momma doesn't approve it, she can (respectfully, of course) suck it up.
“Stop overthinking things, Babs.”
Yes. I’m overthinking things.
“It’ll be okay.”
I’m overthinking things.
“Everyone likes me.”
He’s right. I’m overthinking.
I release a deep sigh, pulling into my dad’s driveway. I unbuckle the seatbelt, and so does Henry.
Breathe, breathe, breathe…
You’re overthinking, Babs. Overthinking.
“So?” He turns to face me, his left hand stroking my naked thigh in reassurance. He’s wearing those fuck-me-shades and looking irresistibly sexy.
His eyes are dancing behind the lenses. I keep staring at him, my whole body tense.
“Once more. How do I say my name?”
I laugh, holding his hands and showing him the how to fingerspell his name again.
My family isn’t known for their patience. They don’t like to slow down for outsiders at all, I’ve had enough hearing boyfriends throughout my life to know that. My brothers would probably talk shit about him in front of him and leave me to decide if I should interpret that or not. For me to decide if I’ll go against my moral codes or the interpreter dilemma. Torture me.
I wonder whether they’ll have him for dinner or wait until dessert.
“Like that?” His fingers move, clumsily and slowly. H-E-N-R-Y.
“Yeah,” I said, although it’s so slow, so not-fluid and so tightly closed that some letters might be lost.
He’s noticed my voice, because he holds my hands.
“Barbara,” he says, looking serious this time. He rarely is serious. I tense up again. “My whole life, people have treated me as a liability. My parents, my teachers, my employers, my girlfriends. But I can’t have my future wife...” He strokes my hand with his thumb, looking for the ring in my finger. “...doing it.”
I watch his face for a long time. Sometimes words didn’t do feelings justice. His chest goes up and down, his expression looks uncertain, even with his eyes half-closed. I release a deep breath, touching his lips in a chaste, sweet kiss.
“You’re not a liability,” I say in a small voice. “Let’s go. Else my brothers are going to kick your ass for spending too much time with me in the car.”
I shrug. “It has happened before.”
I shut the door behind me and rush to his side as he unfolds his white cane and tests it against the ground. I touch the back of his hand and he slides it to my elbow. After knowing him for about three years, I have already mastered the sighted guide technique. At first though, I sucked epically at it—I once ran him over a column at the mall, soon after we met, and he loves to tell the story, enjoying himself in my embarrassment. I don’t think he liked it very much at the time because I know Henry loathes being guided by new people exactly for that reason, but he confessed to me once that he wasn’t pissed because of how into me he was at the time and he’d let me run him over a hundred columns if that meant we’d eventually [go to bed] get together, which is about the most guy thing I can think of. It’s also kinda sweet. Kinda.
“I don’t think I get my ass kicked for making you scream in bed, do I?” He asks with his lips close to my ear.
He stifles a laugh when I hit his ribs with my elbow, playfully.
“Don’t you even dare making dirty jokes around my parents,” I tell him.
“Relax,” he pats my forearm. “I can act civilized for a weekend.”
If he even lasts a weekend, that is.