Suddenly the screen got turned off, I finally manage to look away and saw Mrs. Delifire behind the computer telling Rebecca and Lindsey to move back to their seats. “How many times have I told you that this class is for learning, if you want to show your friends hot artists you do that in your free time! Now, on more important news; this is Mr. Hopson, he will be your teacher until I get back from maternity leave.”
I could feel Lynn’s eyes burning on the right side of my face, but I ignore her demanding looks, instead I look over to Mr. Hopson and he’s everything you would expect an IT teacher to be like. The glasses and the way he stands there awkwardly confirmed that this was his first time actually teaching, he looks like such a push over. I kind of feel bad for him knowing that the students wouldn’t really try to be nice to him, they’d probably try to get him to leave.
He was currently rambling something about his personal life, I couldn’t focus on his story, my mind kept going back to the drummer. I search for Lindsey and see her giggling about something with Rebecca, I look over at the clock, only 1 minute of class left, I need to ask Lindsey who that band was, well, I actually just really need to know who that guy was. I shift uncomfortably in my seat and I can see Lynn throwing me worried looks, but I don’t care. I don’t have time to explain it because the bell rings. I jump up and walk over to Lindsey and Rebecca and sign to them “What’s the name of that band you showed on the screen?” They look at me in confusion. I grab one of their notebooks and a pen and quickly scribble “Name band you showed?”
Rebecca looks at me and asks “first or second?” supporting her questions with holding up one or two fingers. I quickly hold up two fingers and Lindsey writes something down, rips the page from her notebook and hands me the sheet. I kept signing “thank you” at them, over and over again. They just smiled and said “you’re welcome”. Lip reading was definitely difficult, but short sentences like these were easier, especially when you kind of already expect them to answer you like that.
I walk back to my book bag while reading “5 seconds of summer” on the sheet of paper, this is going to be a long day of googling. While I shove all of my stuff in my bag I feel a tap on my shoulder “Goodbye, see you tomorrow” my interpreter Janice signs at me. I quickly tell her goodbye and swing my backpack over my shoulder and walk down the hallway. Suddenly I’m harshly being turned around “What was that about? You just leave me like that? I can’t believe you just met one of your soulmates and you refuse to speak to me, instead you talk to Rebecca and Lindsey and then try to run off!” I stare at Lynn and blink a few times. “Well? Will you please tell me what is going on with Mr. Hopson?” she insists.
Suddenly I burst out laughing, I’m laughing uncontrollably and try signing back at her which is quite hard when you’re in the middle of a laughing fit. “It’s not Mr. Hopson. It’s the drummer from the band Lindsey showed.”
“Your soulmate is a celebrity..?” Lynn carefully signs at me. “A celebrity who’s life revolves around music?”
Then reality hits me. I won’t ever be able to meet him, he’s famous, his world revolves around the one thing I can’t experience; music. How will we ever be able to be together with someone thousands of girls swoon over? How will I be able to be with him when I can’t share his biggest passion? By this point my laughter has died down and I just stare at the timer on my right wrist, the zeros making my heart ache.
All of the sudden two arms pull me into a warm embrace, I just let myself sink into her touch, tears slowly spilling down my cheeks. How could I have been so happy about this? This is a disaster. We stand like that for quite some time, Lynn holding me tight and my crying into her shoulder. After a while she lets go “You’re coming over to my house, I baked brownies yesterday, you need chocolate.” I just nod, because Lynn’s right, she’s always right.
Once we’re inside we dump our bags, shoes and coats in the hall and I walk into the kitchen helping her make some hot chocolate with baby marshmallows, Lynn grabs the whole tray of brownies and we make our way up to her room. After three brownies each Lynn asks me “So what’s the name of that band?” while she starts up her laptop.
We must’ve watched every possible interview and I forced poor Lynn to translate every word Ashton said. Yes, my soulmate has a name now and it suits him perfectly. Ashton Fletcher Irwin.
I can’t stop smiling while looking at him, he’s beautiful, how can someone I have never met, make me feel so special? But deep within me something is worrying me; my second timer.
I pause the video and see Lynn happily dropping her hands, interpreting is a tiring thing to do, especially when you’re not professionally trained to do it. “Do you think my other timer is for Ashton as well? Or do you think I don’t have a chance with him?” I ask her. She stays quiet for a while, until she suddenly lifts her hands “I’ve never seen you like this. He makes you happier than I’ve ever seen you, I can’t imagine there could be someone who could make you feel even happier than Ashton can. If this is how you react to just videos of him then you belong to him, I promise.”
I smile at her final sign “promise”. In British Sign Language the sign “promise” is basically you crossing your heart, a thing that Lynn does a lot, especially when we were a lot younger, in fact it was one of the only signs she knew when we first met “I promise I learn sign, I promise.” She always used to tell me and look at her now, she’s practically as fluent in signing as she is in speaking English. The memories making me smile, “promise” has been her sign name for so long now that I can’t even imagine changing it to something different. A sign name is one or two signs that replace a person’s name, so instead of fingerspelling L-Y-N-N every time, I just sign “promise” and mouth “Lynn” along with it.
My sign name is “quiet”, because I never speak. I did get a few years of speech therapy, but speaking terrifies me. I have no clue if what I’m saying sounds good, I’m really insecure about the sound of my voice. But then again even in sign language I don’t say a lot, I suppose I’m just a naturally quiet person.
Today I gave Ashton the sign name “drummer”, which is basically just playing imaginary air drums, because, sadly, that’s the only thing he really seems passionate about. I wish he would’ve been into painting or maybe even acting, but instead he’s into music and music is everything I don’t understand. I know that I can make sounds when my vocal chords vibrate, when I make sounds and touch my throat I can “feel” the sound, meaning I can feel the vibrations. I also know that something similar happens with guitars and basses as well, but the drums confuse me, I don’t see how something that seemingly doesn’t vibrate, can make sounds. The drums are almost as big of a mystery to me as electronica that produce sounds are.
When I get home later that day I show my parents and little brother Eliot a video of Ashton during dinner and somehow I can’t suppress the little smile that forms on my lips. My mum smiles back at me telling me he’s a very talented, handsome guy. Eliot, in all his 8 year old wisdom, decides to ruin it and starts off with “But he can’t sign! He is famous!” at which my mum tells him “Eliot! Don’t you dare say that about your sister’s soulmate.”
And then my dad unexpectedly joins in, he is a man of very little words, just like me “Martha, you know he has a point, how will this ever work? He’s famous –“ to my surprise he switches over to speaking and drops his hands, luckily I’m able to catch just enough of his words to understand what he’s saying. “He … have all the girls he wants, why … want … with … deaf girl? He … not want … who can’t hear his …, he … break … heart.”
I hate it when they talk when I’m around, I’m not stupid, I can understand quite some words when lip reading, but what hurts more was him saying that Ashton won’t want me because I’m deaf, that he won’t even consider someone who can’t share his passion. As I run up the stairs to my room, I shut the door, slowly sliding down until I’m sat with my back against the door on the floor, and I realise that not him being mean about Ashton or him talking instead of signing hurt the most, what hurts the most is that every word of what he said, is true.