There's those moments, those special moments, when you meet someone. When you automatically know that you will know them for the rest of your life, from the second you lock eyes. No matter how short that amount of time may be.


2. The light and the dark

He drops the loop he's holding and swings down, swaying like mine did, below him in the trees. I can only stare, shocked, as he stares back at me. Was he like me? About to commit the final act?

As I begin to look away, turning back to my own business, not willing to be distracted by him, he mouths something. I can only read a word or two "" It seems so stupid that I have to point this out now, of all times, but I slowly rotate back towards him.

Shaking my head, I point at my ears and shake my head, mouthing, "I'm deaf." I really don't want to have to say it aloud. He nods and looks down at his hands, appearing to be thinking. Then he begins spelling something out, but he's clearly rusty on sign-language, as it's hard to get all the letters. "A-R-E-Y-U-O-H-E-R-E-T-U-E-N-D-I-T." With a shrug, he places his hands in the air in a questioning way.

I silently nod. Making the same gesture as he did, I point back. "Are you?" I mouth. He nods too.

Suddenly, I'm struck by the bizarreness of this situation. Two teenagers, sitting in a tree, mouthing and gesturing at each other about death.

"Why?" I ask, making my lip movements exaggerated. When he doesn't appear to understand, I slowly sign it. "T-U-U-M-O-C-H," he replies, clearly a little muddled with his Os and Us. He's mouthing at the same time, or speaking, it's hard to tell. But he isn't like the other, moving his mouth really obviously. He's just speaking normally, if a little slowly. Not making me feel self-conscious, but making sure that I'm keeping up. "Y-O-U?" Again, the questioning hand movement, that I take to mean that he's asking a question. It's what most people do.

"A-L-O-N-E," I sign. Usually, I'd use the correct sign, but he clearly wouldn't know it, so I'm having to spell it all out.

With a grin, he signs again, faster and more confidently. "Y-U-O-R-E-T-U-U-P-R-E-T-T-Y-T-U-D-I-E." I blush, looking at the ground. With a quick leap, he's sitting next to me on the branch, having quickly climbed over four metres, whilst being ten feet of the ground.

I notice a shiny object on his lip, then notice that it's a small piercing on the bottom right. It glimmers a little in the weak sun. With a jerk, I shuffle backwards as his arms start to move towards me. But he smiles reassuringly and I let him move closer. He grasps the rope around my neck and slowly, watching for my reaction, lifts it from my shoulders.

It feels like a great weight has been lifted from me, as it drops down and swings below us. My eyes flicker down, then back towards him. "I-W-U-N-T-I-F-Y-U-O-D-U-N-T."

Why did I say what I did? I'm not sure. But I did what I did, and nothing can change that. "Okay," I mouth and nod. Holding out a hand, he shuffles slowly towards the thick tree trunk and gestures for me to follow. Slowly, gently, almost unable to believe that I'm doing this; I slowly shuffle along the branch behind him, until I reach the trunk. He fearlessly leaps down to the ground while I clutch a branch above my head, staring at the earth far below. 

Seeing that I haven't jumped, he waves and gestures for me to jump. I shake my head. I can't do this. It's too far. Strange, because I've never been afraid of heights, but now it's too far. Too far to fall. Once more he gestures, and once more I shake my head. With a small eye-roll, he clambers back up next to me, perching on a branch to the side. He turns and motions that I climb onto his back. 

I hesitate, then clamber on, heart beating as I am forced to step over the horrific gap. His arms snake under my legs as I wrap around him, a belt buckle from his coat digging into my thigh. With a small gasp from me, he jumps down to the ground, wind rushing past us. I think I scream, but it's hard to know, as I can't hear it.

Once we are down I jump off and step back. Personal space has always been important, since I lost my hearing anyway. The further away you are, the clearer it is to see what they're saying. It's my first proper good look at this strange boy; who I only met a few minutes ago, but saved my life.

He's tall, really tall. Around six foot, at a guess. Dyed black hair, an obvious home job, long and sweeping over his eyes, which are a bright shade of green with a layer of eye-liner around them. Pierced lip, extremely pale skin and the make-up makes it obvious that he is some form of goth. He's wearing ripped skinny jeans, a grey t-shirt with a band logo on it and a long black coat, covered in buckles studs. Covering his feet are a pair of Doc Martens, also black. 

It's then that I realise I don't know his name. "W-H-A-T-S-Y-O-U-R-N-A-M-E?" I sign.

"S-A-M," he replies slowly, looking down at his hands as he does. "W-H-A-T-S-Y-U-O-R-S?"


He grins. For someone who was about to kill himself, he certainly smiled a lot. "P-R-E-T-T-Y-N-A-M-E." Once more, I blush.

Something vibrates against my leg, breaking the warm atmosphere as I pull out my phone. A text flashes up on the screen. 

Will you be home soon? Mum xx

I'd never considered what time I'd be home, as I'd never contemplated coming home again. Mum had nodded when I said I was going out for a walk, telling me to be back by five, but I'd barely listened to that, not thinking that I'd need to, Would I come back here, to repeat the task that I had been prevented from completing? I wasn't sure. But somehow, I thought that I wouldn't.

"I-M-S-O-R-R-Y-B-U-T-I-H-A-V-E-T-O-G-O-N-O-W," I sign. When he looks confused, I repeat it. His head drops a little, but he nods.


"S-E-E-Y-O-U," I do a little awkward wave. What is the protocol for this kind of situation? When you're deaf and about to commit suicide, but are stopped by a goth boy called Sam? 

With a nod in his direction, I turn and run into the trees.

It's only after I reach home that I realise I never asked for his number.


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