Ashton blinks. “Date?”
“Yes, date. The one you asked me on two days ago?” I tell him.
“What? Now, you mean?” He asks in surprise.
“Yes, now! Of course now!”
He looks at me in disbelief, a million of different thoughts and emotions flash before his eyes, something in his eyes tells me that he’s not sure about this. After giving him a pleading look something changes, I can tell he knows that I want this, that I need this.
“Wait.” Ashton signs before going back into his room. Not too long after, he comes out fully dressed with a beanie on his head, hiding his bed hair. We make our way downstairs, once the lift is slowly taking us on its way to the ground floor Ashton swings keys around one of his long fingers “Who said … walking?” He asks me with a devilish expression on his face.
Judging by the car Ashton opens with the keys; he stole them from security. The black SUV with tinted windows kind of gives that away.
We drive away into the dark streets of Foxborough that are only dimly lit by the street lights, I rest my head against the car window, looking up to the little lights that sparkle in the night’s sky.
Ashton’s hand brushes against my thigh, asking for my attention, as I turn around to him he starts speaking slowly and trying to sign along with the one hand he frees from the steering wheel. “So, where do you want to go?”
I place my head against the window, feeling the cool glass against my forehead somewhat calms me down. I can feel my stomach clenching and my head slightly spinning, I’m unsure whether these feelings are because of the upcoming “date” with Ashton or the previous conversations I had with Lynn and Eliot, either way: I’m nervous, my feelings are all over the place. The car comes to a halt, I turn to see Ashton unbuckling his seatbelt, “You coming?” he questions. I slowly nod and get out of the car and look around. Ashton brought us to a park with a children’s playground.
Ashton lets out a nervous giggling judging by his face, while trying to fix his beanie even though it looks flawless on him. I can tell he’s searching for words, he slowly signs along with his messed up sentence. “I just, yeah, I don’t know. I would’ve taken you to the movies or dinner or something nice, but it’s quite late at night. Or morning, I don’t know, it depends if you consider this tomorrow already. So yeah, I don’t know, the park.”
I give him a small smile, not knowing how to respond. I’d hate a movie date, because the films never have subtitles and dinner dates are difficult, because I can’t lip read people when their mouths are stuffed with food. This is exactly what I want, this is a perfect first date for me, but I don’t know how to word it, how to let Ashton know that he has done nothing wrong. So I don’t word it at all, I let my actions speak.
I grab his hand and tug him along with me, running to the playground. I quickly hop on one of the swings, Ashton looks at me with an amused expression on his face “Weird, I a-l-w-a-y-s thought you liked r-o-m-a-n-t-i-c walks in the moonlight more than a p-l-a-y-g-r-o-u-n-d.”
“Oh, shut up.” I sign at him after giving him a weird look, I mean: come on! Who would pick walking over a swing set? Really?
“Great way to start the date, L-i-z-z-y.” He laughs while sitting down on the other swing.
I roll my eyes and begin to explain a game I used to love when I was younger. “Let’s jump off the swings when we’re at the highest point and see who can jump the furthest!”
Ashton seems up for it as he immediately starts swinging as high as possible after which he launched himself off of the swings and onto the grass, he lays back and waits for me to jump. The wind blows through my hair and I push back my glasses, afraid that they might fly off. And then, I let go.
I fly through the air for milliseconds, but it’s worth it. Even the impact of my body hitting the grass at the end is worth. I look up to Ashton seeing that he’s slightly further away from the swings. For some reason as soon as our eyes lock we both start laughing uncontrollably. After a few moments we both find our composure again as our laughter dies down.
“I like your laugh.” Ashton signs which makes my cheeks heat up. “I like it when you make sounds. It’s nice.”
I hesitate for a second and ask for his phone, typing my response. “I used to not care about sounds, because I can’t hear them anyway, but ever since I heard the airplane and ever since I learned how much your life revolves around sounds and music, it kind of seems interesting now.”
“You want to know sounds? I explain?” Ashton asks me to which I shyly nod. I can tell he’s a bit lost now, he must be. How do you explain sounds to someone who doesn’t understand them?
To help him on his way I ask him questions. “What are your favourite sounds?”
Ashton doesn’t seem that lost anymore. He doesn’t fully sign along with what he’s saying, but he tries really hard to do so. He still doesn’t know a lot of signs, so I just result to lip reading when he doesn’t know how to sign the words but this works, our weird communication ways work.
“When I wake up in the morning to the sound of birds. Bird songs sound like …” His eyes search the sky above him, realisation lights up in his face as he turns to me. “They sound like the f-l-i-p-s your stomach makes when you’re happy.”
“What does your music sound like?”
“I don’t know.” He giggles. “You should ask a fan how the music makes them feel. All I know is that I love playing it. I love p-e-r-f-o-r-m-i-n-g live.”
I look back up, the trees lining the sky perfectly, like the leaves are the picture frame to the stars in the night sky. I can feel Ashton brush my hand. “Please don’t get u-p-s-e-t for what I’m about to ask, but what is it like being deaf?”
I sit up and cross my legs while looking down at him, using slow and clear signs. “It’s normal, n-o-r-m-a-l for me. I always liked being Deaf, it was something special, s-p-e-c-i-a-l. I had a beautiful language and I liked my life. Now, I’m not so sure. Meeting you changed a lot, I feel like I’m missing out on hearing.”
“Don’t w-o-r-r-y.” Ashton laughs “Our music isn’t that good. You’re not missing out.”
I laugh and shake my head, wondering how Ashton can make everything sound so simple and easy while simultaneously making everything so much more difficult. Ashton gets up and pulls me from the ground and we go back to being big children while playing in the playground.
After a while we both reluctantly stop swinging when the raging wind becomes too much and nearly knocks the air out of our lungs. “Thank you, Ashton.” I tell him while kicking the grass underneath my feet that are dangling from the swing. “It was nice today.” I say while we get up and walk back to the car.
“Who says it’s over already? I still have an i-d-e-a.” He replies with a large dimply smile.