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Hello Silence, My New Friend

Hello Silence, My New Friend

the beauty of silence

The explosion caught me completely by surprise. I awoke 3 days later, tubes and wires snaking from my body, surrounded by shades of white. Absolute silence. I was sure I was dead. The cobwebs slowly fell away. Hospital. I anxiously began an examination of my inert body. It looked like everything was still there. I had a sudden moment of terror at the discomfort between my legs. Gingerly I managed to pull the covers back only to find a catheter rather than any signs of damage. I almost cried in relief.

I realized I was dying of thirst and began frantically searching the bed for a call button or some means of getting the attention of medical staff. Fortunately a nurse walked soundlessly into the room carrying a large jug with which she filled a small plastic cup with water. She placed a small straw in the cup and brought it to my mouth where I sucked greedily at the welcome pleasure. I tried to thank her but couldn’t seem to speak. She smiled warmly and silently touched my arm as though she had heard my thoughts.

Again I struggled to form a coherent sentence to ask what had happened. The quizzical expression on her face looked rather comical as I lay there half dazed. She squeezed my hand gently then left the room as soundlessly as she had arrived. I lay there, enjoying the blissful silence feeling a wave of exhaustion slowly wash over me. I felt myself slowly sinking in to the warm embrace of sleep. Then sat bolt upright in sudden horror. Frantically I thrashed at the metal rails along the edge of my bed, flailed wildly at the water jug to send it crashing to the floor. Dead silence. My thoughts filled with dread. I was deaf.

The next few days were a whirl of doctors, nurses and therapists. With an avalanche of handwritten notes and booklets it was explained that I had lost my hearing due to my proximity to a premature detonation. The loss was expected to be permanent. With cheerful smiles; pamphlets and magazines were pushed into my hands, all expounding on deafness as though it were some special virtue. My angry reaction had no deterrent effect whatsoever. I just lay there in despair. I loved to talk, loved those long conversations that meandered about in to the long deep night, those conversations where you learned, really learned, who a person really was. No more. I sank into a dark depression.

On my last day in the hospital a pretty brunette walked purposefully into my room. She pulled out a large pad of paper and scrawled her name in bold letters. “Emma.” She pointed to her name then to herself, handing me the pencil.

Deliberately staring into her eyes I snapped the pencil in half and dropped it on the paper pad. I smirked at my small victory.

She shook her head at me slowly, smiled and calmly pulled another pencil from her purse. She picked up the pad and wrote a longer series of words. She held it up against her slender body where I could read it. “Emma. Stop being an asshole. I’m deaf too. Since I was young.”

I felt a sudden flood of shame. Had she ever had one of those long dawn-capped conversations? Heard music? Enjoyed the gentle engine purr of a kitten? Lost herself to the soft moans and sighs of a lover? I gently pulled the pad and pencil from her hands.

“Sorry,” I wrote, fiercely underlining the word until the lead snapped from the pencil.

She smiled calmly once again, pulling a third pencil from her purse. “You’re kind of hard on pencils aren’t you?” She wrote. As she held up the pad once again she stuck her tongue out at me then grinned.

I couldn’t help but laugh. I didn’t hear it but I felt it. It was my first happy moment since I had awoken in the hospital. I took the pad and pencil from her again, writing a bit more carefully this time. “Asshole,” I wrote, then pointed to myself.

She smiled again only this time her whole face lit up. “You and I are going to be friends,” She wrote, “Whether you like it or not. Got it?”

I hesitated. Then nodded.

Over the next hour she explained she would be my tutor. Her objective was to teach me how to negotiate the clamouring world that would now be silent to me and that she would teach me sign language. She left me with instructions on where to meet her the following morning and handed me an address on a small card. On the back she marked a short message: “9AM. Don’t be late.”

The following morning I stepped from the taxi, backpack on my shoulder, thrusting a handful of bills at the driver. I already felt the rising annoyance of frustration at the simple challenge of conveying my destination to the cabbie. I turned and faced the front of the building, a discreet sign stood on the bright strip of green grass between the pavement and the building itself. “LANGUAGE SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF” My eyes locked on the looming words. The shouting insolence of the sign taunted me like a cruel joke. I felt the sudden rise of an irrational anger and turned to stalk off home, more than ready to sink back into wallowing self-pity.

The soft touch on my arm startled me and I whirled around, rather alarmed. It was Emma. There was a look of mild concern on her face. She glanced over at the sign that had held my attention, shrugged, it seemed apologetically, then tugged me toward the front door. I had a momentary flash of walking into an amusement park House of Horrors as we stepped through the glass door. She led me up a short flight of stairs and into a small room. Two stiff wooden chairs and a small table sat before a tall window that looked out over a nearby park and small pond. An ugly institutional sofa sat against one wall and a second table held a dusty looking computer. Emma guided me to one of the surprisingly comfortable chairs and sat opposite me, smoothing her skirt as she sat. The brief glimpse of the material tight on her ass gave me a momentary thrill of enjoyment that vanished all too soon.

Using a notepad, Emma explained how we would study, providing me with books that displayed various hand positions for different words and expressions. There were flash cards, charts and computer based courses that would all be used over the coming months. She made it quite clear that the crutch of the notepad was soon to disappear. The news filled me with wild panic. We spent the early morning working through the flash cards and she demonstrated how to access the various tools available on the computer. As Emma opened an intimidatingly large, illustrated book, a rising frustration filled my thoughts. I couldn’t see how I could ever learn the awkward positioning of my hands and fingers illustrated on the pages of the thick textbook. It may as well have been Swahili. To her credit Emma immediately sensed my thoughts and to my surprise, suddenly snapped the book closed.

“Look at me,” She scribbled.

She began moving her fingers and hands, slowly demonstrating a long series of words of which I understood not a single damned thing. Her motion seemed like a fluid poetry and I found myself leaning forward. I enjoyed the elegant grace with which Emma formed various signs and the expressions on her face. Something about her seemed to burst into vibrant life as she fought to engage me in to her silent world. Unfortunately I remained as stubborn and reluctant as the moment I had arrived.

Weeks passed in a dull monotony of my irritation and poor Emma’s unceasing encouragement.

She’d sometimes have to leave the room to deal with administrative issues. Invariably I’d take the opportunity to shirk my lessons, amusing myself with doodles and scrawled musings on a pad of paper I had secreted in my backpack. I was always sure to be facing the door so I had time to hide my scribbling from Emma as she re-entered the room. I’d always enjoyed writing and now it seemed more important than ever. Inevitably she caught me.

I became rather engrossed in a particular poem one day that described the terrible isolation I felt at being deaf. Once I finished I felt compelled to read it over and over again, soon losing myself in the words. Sensing movement I looked up, startled to see Emma regarding me with a definite look of disapproval. I hurried to stuff my notebook back into my backpack when she firmly took hold of the tattered pages. I pulled back but she wasn’t to be denied. Finally I surrendered the notebook to her, realizing, with no small amount of chagrin, that she would see my aimless doodles that undermined all her hard work on my behalf. As she leafed through the pages of mindless scrawl and cartoon figures I had to stifle a grin; she looked like the perfectly prim schoolmistress disappointed by her recalcitrant student.

Then something changed. She had been turning the pages fairly quickly when she suddenly stopped on one specific page. The poem! I lunged forward in alarm, my words had been deeply personal and I had no wish to share. Anticipating me as usual, she stepped back and turned away from me. Long minutes passed. When she finally turned back there were tears streaming down her cheeks. She seemed utterly unconcerned that I could see her vulnerability made so bare.

She turned to a fresh page of the notebook and wrote a few words.

“Beautiful. Asshole. You made me cry. Being deaf can be beautiful too.” She fiercely underlined the last sentence snapping her pencil. It seemed my pencil aggression was contagious.

I felt immensely pleased that I had finally managed to connect with her. Conversely I was mortified that I had wasted her efforts in trying to help me learn. The graffiti evidence of my lack of commitment covered almost every page. I sat there feeling foolish and confused, dying to just put my arms around her but frozen to my chair, a bashful schoolboy.

To my surprise she took my hand, leading me from our schoolroom prison, out the doors and across the street to the park opposite the language school. Her hand felt so warm. Eventually she slipped her arm through mine and while I missed the warmth of her hand the intimacy of just being with her outside was exhilarating. The close proximity of Emma made it difficult to concentrate as she pointed at various objects in the park, then slipping her arm from mine, she signed the appropriate word or phrase. It would have been so much better if I’d understood what she was trying to communicate. She would lay her hand against an object like a tree, sign something but I was never sure if she was saying “tree”, “bark” or “wood”. I felt incredibly stupid. Despite my usual frustration it was a wonderful afternoon that was less about learning and more about just enjoying her company.

Sign language is far more than just positioning the fingers and hands. Much of the actual communication is done through facial expression that adds nuance and meaning to specific signs. While I was mostly lost in terms of understanding a specific sign we did manage to communicate in other non-verbal ways. Best of all, Emma had an incredible smile and I found myself constantly trying to make her laugh. As the afternoon passed by I found myself forgetting about school and started to realize how much I genuinely liked Emma.

The days lengthened into the blustery wet of autumn. Our sign language lessons continued, peppered with all too brief outings where Emma led me around, trying to immerse me in everyday life. I just couldn’t grasp it. Despite her infinite patience I could see even Emma was becoming frustrated with my lack of progress. After yet another lacklustre effort on my part she finally slammed our study material shut and sprung from her chair. She pulled her previously banned pad of paper out and wrote a simple message.

“You’re blocking it. If you embrace it, it will come.”

I shrugged in response, perhaps in some dark corner of my mind knowing she was right but I just couldn’t climb that wall. It loomed above me as though about to fall and crush me beneath its weight. Emma slowed pulled me to my feet so we stood facing each other, only inches apart. She took each of my hands in hers, forming them so the fingers and thumb of each hand pushed together. Then slowly she pulled my hands toward each other touching the fingertips against those of my opposite hand. The warmth of her soft hands and scent of her filled me with a longing for another time. Then she kissed me. A soft, lingering kiss that seemed filled with the promise of a thousand dreams. As we drew apart she formed my hands once again into the same form and drew them together. Kiss! The connection was both vivid and immediately intuitive. I felt enormously proud of myself. And I felt something else.

I lunged toward the pad and pencil wanting to put into words, aching to say something, anything, to Emma. But she was faster. She snatched the pad away, wrote a short message then folded the paper in four. She handed it to me with a smile and pushed me toward the door. As I began to open the note she covered my hands with hers and shook her head. Emma put a finger to her lips and led me to the door, unceremoniously ushering me out. As the door closed behind me I stood there, momentarily panicked that she might be sending me away. I opened the note.

“I can think of at least one good reason to learn sign language. Can you? Go home and think about it. See you next week. Emma.” She had drawn a small heart after her name.

I don’t know how long I stood there. The roar of emotions in my head whirled in dervish thought. I wanted to burst back into the room, push her against the wall and kiss her. Hard. I could feel my heart pounding. I took a long deep breath steadying myself. Hesitated. My hand reached for the doorknob. Hesitated. Finally I walked to the stairs, heading for home. I had a lot to think about.

One of the things about losing your hearing is how the simple things you take for granted change. No more ringing phones or knocks on the door and you constantly feel left out. There are so many things you don’t really notice when you have normal hearing. I think the worst part for me was the lack of innocuous conversation. I’d walk past groups of friends, laughing and talking in the street. Probably about nothing of great importance but the wanting to be part of it was crushing. At times it’s an overwhelming loneliness.

My door bell and phone had been set up with flashing lights to notice visitors or incoming calls. But nobody calls a deaf person except telemarketers. I had to keep a pen and paper by the door to deal with visitors, most of whom would treat me like I was dumb. The expressions on their faces and haste to get away always made it worse.

That Saturday afternoon I had been staring out my window. The rain had been pouring down for hours. I’d always loved the rain only now I couldn’t hear it. The soft hiss in the air, that bubbly music as raindrops hit the ground or puddles. I suppose I should have felt blessed by my heightened sense of smell, at least the fresh wetness was more apparent. The darkened sky matched my mood as melancholia took hold.

The flashing strobe of my doorbell startled me; I still wasn’t used to it. I thought about ignoring it then decided even an annoying interruption would be marginally welcome. I slowly opened the door. Emma stood there, raindrops in her hair sparkling in the soft hallway light. I reached for my pad and pen.

“?” I wrote.

“Shut up” she wrote with a smile. “Not a word.” Her hands moved in a flurry, the expressions on her face signalling a strange mix of emotions I couldn’t fathom. I was lost but somehow managed to decipher a certain softness in her. Beneath that, some kind of tension I couldn’t quite grasp. Then she dropped her raincoat to the floor.

She just stood there, wearing a nervous smile and draped in the most sensual lingerie I had ever seen. Stockings. Stiletto boots. Matching black lace bra and panties. Blushing furiously, she completed an elegant pirouette that sent hazy wafts of vanilla storming through my olfactory senses.

For once I forgot about the pad and pencil, I just stood there enjoying her. I imagine the look in my eye spoke volumes. I just took her hand and held it against my chest. My heart was pounding wildly. I kissed her then. I had to. I can’t describe how much of me went into that kiss; it was just a molten pour. It was only when Emma pulled away that I realized I had felt our kiss in its entirety. It was the difference between seeing a single star compared to the brilliant carpet of the Milky Way. I kissed her again. I wanted that feeling of endlessness back.

Emma took my hand as she looked around my apartment; she seemed to instinctively know where the bedroom was. As she led me through the doorway I was ridiculously pleased that I had actually made the bed for once. As she began to undo the buttons of my shirt I found myself fascinated by the look of concentration on her face. It was as though I was seeing her for the first time. I touched my fingertips to her cheek, she raised her eyes to mine and the universe just disappeared. Her dark eyes smouldered with unspoken promise. I could smell the rain in her hair.

Emma pushed me back on the bed, my head landing on my feather pillow. She quickly straddled me, regarding the window behind my headboard with a thoughtful expression. She then leaned over me to throw the curtains open to the dreary rain, opening the window a few inches. In the rising heat of the room I was grateful for the sudden breeze and the few drops of rain that fell from her dark hair upon my naked chest. The immediacy of her body to my mouth was too much and I reached for her hips to pull her to my lips. Emma firmly intercepted my hands and pinned them against my pillow, slowly shaking her head. I got the message.

She slithered down my body, her hands working at the belt and buttons of my Levi’s. As she slid my jeans off I was quite gratified that her proximity had left me with an impressive erection tenting up from my boxers. I was far more stirred by the wicked gleam in her eye as she slipped her fingers along the elastic of my shorts and swiftly pulled them off. I was trembling slightly and realized that I was apprehensive. Now that I was deaf and unable to hear how could I interpret the low moans and sighs emitted by a lover that would encourage or lead a particular action?

The thought vanished as the tip of Emma’s tongue traced a long, slow lick from the bottom of my shaft to the engorged head of my throbbing cock. She grinned as though she could feel my vibrations then retraced her path with her long fingernails, my back arching in pleasure. Then Emma circled the base of my cock with her thumb and forefinger as her tongue slowly lapped at my hardness. The sensation was incredible. My hands twisted gently into the luxurious cascade of her hair and I pulled her up so I could lose myself in another kiss. She kissed me, so gently it felt as though butterflies were dancing on my lips.

She gave me a knowing smile, slowly withdrawing back down my body. She hesitated briefly over one nipple. I could feel her warm breath on my chest before she suddenly flickered her tongue over my nipple. My entire body tensed with an electric thrill.

Then she moved her head over my cock and engulfed me with her hot wet mouth. I felt an enormous flood of heat through my body that only intensified as she began to slide her mouth up and down my hardness. As she began to increase her pace I was sure I was going to come in a matter of seconds. Emma clearly sensed my predicament and she lowered her pace to one of agonizing slowness; I could feel every atom of her tongue as it lingered against my pulsating cock. The short hair of my arms rose as I shuddered beneath the scorching pleasure of her mouth.

We tend to think of ourselves as having five senses. But there’s so much more. Internal perception. Balance. Temperature. Acceleration. Vibration. Pain. That first afternoon with Emma was a true awakening of my deepest consciousness.

I couldn’t remember ever being so aroused. There was a certain bewildering mystery at first that instead of being disconcerting or awkward felt more like a wild adventure. Emma’s enthusiastic mouth dipped hungrily up and down my cock. The torrid heat, followed by the cool contrast of my raging erection emerging from between the pressure of her lips was exquisite. Her eyes rose to mine, Emma’s smouldering look conveyed a wicked decadence that I met with my own. Gazing up at me she began to suck harder, deeper, increasing her speed until it felt like a blur. I exploded in her mouth. Emma slowed her pace as she continued to gently suck me, as though draining every ounce of pleasure from the moment.

I was desperate to return the favour. I pulled Emma’s face to mine and kissed her. Then I slowly pushed her back against the sheets intending to tongue her into complete surrender.

I’d touched women before but the sensations from my fingertips as I touched the liquid silk of Emma’s skin felt almost ethereal. I’d never so acutely noticed a woman’s heat, the dewy glow of her softness or the taut flexing that danced over her sensuous curves. I could smell a faint hint of Emma’s perfume but most of all I could smell her. It was a kaleidoscope fragrance of freshness, musky rainforest heat with a vague hint of spice and vanilla. I could taste her scent. I wanted to kiss her everywhere.

As Emma shrugged her bra off I had this sudden thought of being in a silent movie and a time long passed by. As the delicious curve of her small breasts were revealed my thoughts dissolved in to a single frame. Desire. My lips brushed gently against her areola, I could feel the thrumming vibration of her heart. As I slowly crushed my mouth over her nipple the sudden hardening poked insistently against my tongue as though commanding my attention. Dragging my teeth across her stiffened peak my hand slowly traced down her abdomen and slid inside the dark lace of her already sodden panties. Her knees raised as she drew her feet back toward her hips. I slid her panties off.

The instant my tongue touched her clit her hand twisted violently in my hair, the urgent pressure leaving no doubt Emma was as eager for my tongue as I was anxious to taste her. I licked slowly along her wet slit, the creamy softness of her thighs brushing against my cheeks. The tip of my tongue entered her, the taste both tart and sweet. I loved it when her hips rose off the bed to push her sex imperatively into the greedy need of my face.

I traced my fervent tongue along the inner edge of her suffused labia then feathered my tongue across her clit. Despite the silence the sudden stab of Emma’s fingernails into my cranium left no doubt that my attentions were on the mark. I pushed a single finger inside her, my eyes rising to watch the upward surge of her breasts as my fingertip touched her frontal wall. I alternately brushed my tongue over her clit then plunged it into her hole to dart furiously in and out of her sex. I could sense how close she was when Emma suddenly writhed from beneath me.

She frantically rolled me on my back, straddling my legs, pressing her entire body’s warmth against mine as she kissed me hungrily. There were a thousand voices in her glowing eyes. She reached between our legs with a lissome dexterity and guided my raging hardness between her soft folds. Gradually, almost imperceptibly, Emma filled herself with me. I could feel the clench of her with every particle of my being.

The heat of her thighs against mine as Emma slowly rose and fell on my cock was an exquisite sensation that centred my whole world. My hands slid across her ribs to cup each breast. Her face was a twisted smile of pleasure as she thrust harder and faster. Emma bent forward as I was close to coming. She kissed me hard, almost ferociously; I could feel the growl in her throat. Her teeth sank harshly into my chest adding a lonely sorrow of pain, an ache rising to pleasure and my sudden explosive climax. Each ejaculation tremored through my entire body. Emma’s eyes glittered with passion, tempered by soft smile of concern that she had hurt me. I loved it.

I pulled Emma’s legs above her hips, spinning her on to her hands and knees as she tightened around my still buried cock. I suppose in some inner way I intended to punish her for that savage bite but in truth I really just wanted to take charge. As her hands reached for the headboard I seized her hips and begun to plunge madly in and out of her. Emma deliberately turned her head to look over her shoulder, smiled encouragingly and slowly closed her eyes like a contented kitten. She began driving backward to meet my every thrust, clearly eager for her own release. Pinpoints of moisture sparkled on her back in the muted light pouring through the rain streaked window. Deliberately I slowed my pace.

I felt a selfish desire to draw out each long moment, being with Emma in a silent world was an exploration of senses beyond my imagination. She immediately intuited what I was thinking and slowed her own pace to match my own. We lingered over each sensation, wringing every drop of carnal satisfaction from each other’s aching need. I was just as entranced by the fall of her dark hair across one bare shoulder as I was absorbed by the intense warm depths of her drenched pussy.

She covered my hands with hers and pushed them against the window, the cool condensation deliciously opposed to the steamy heat of our coupling. I pulled one hand away trickling its cool droplets along Emma’s spine as she shivered beneath me. I could feel her every vibration along the entire length of my cock. As though of a single mind our passion accelerated toward oblivion.

This time we orgasmed as a single entity, our hands twisted together, welded to the shaking headboard. We collapsed in a heap, heaving for oxygen. Gradually we relaxed into one another, this perfection of satisfied selves. I felt a sense of awe at this new discovery of sensual pleasure. Emma looked at me in shared amazement, both of us understanding this new awareness, as though the afternoon had been painted with surrealistic brushstrokes upon, no, within us. My fingertips traced aimless patterns over the creamy smoothness of her skin; I was barely conscious of the action but instead lost to the simple pleasure of her acute warmth transmitted through my lightest touch. My thoughts pinballed in wild fragments that slowly took shape into the effortlessness of just being. With Emma.

I think we laid there for hours; blissfully content in our silence with long conversations told in tender smiles, raised eyebrows, subtle touch and the simple pleasure of our shared warmth. It was the first time in months I had truly enjoyed the quiet tranquility of soundlessness.

As our relationship blossomed I finally found the key to understanding sign language. I just need to let my old self go. School had never been so pleasurable. I suppose I was motivated mostly by a need to impress Emma but as true as that is, I really wanted to be able to communicate the intensity of my feelings to her. She had been so right. There was at least one incredibly good reason to learn sign language. Love.

We’re both getting cochlear implants next week; a new advance in technology for adults. I already know what my first words are going to be.

“I love you Emma.”

I’m going to sign it too.


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