“When am I going to meet my soulmate?” Eliot asks me.
“Not for a little while, your timer won’t reach zero until you’re twenty.” I tell him.
“Will my soulmate be a girl? Miss Lowe said that sometimes boys have boys as their soulmate.” he abruptly says.
“Yes, that’s true. Maybe you’ll meet a boy, maybe it’ll be a girl.”
“I don’t want a girl, I hope I’ll meet a boy.”
I frown at his words, I would love him exactly the same if he’s gay, but it just confuses me how an eight year old boy can be so sure of his sexuality. My worries quickly get knocked down as Eliot lifts his hands to speak again.
“Girls are stupid, they don’t like football and they don’t like to play games, they’re boring.”
I give him a surprised look and respond: “Oh, do they not? I like playing games a lot, especially the tickle game!” while tickling Eliot until he doubles over and tries to squeeze himself out of my arms. I finally let go and he dashes away. I wave my hand to get his attention, since yelling is not something deaf people do, “Hold on, Eliot! We have to go into this store to get the supplies.”
Not too long later we’re sitting at our kitchen table with all our supplies for our Father’s Day present.
“Alright, dip your hand in the paint and make a print on the paper.” I instruct my little brother as I do the same thing. While those dry we decorate the two picture frames we picked out, we glue little twigs to one frame and little seashells to the other. It’s a relatively easy thing to do and we’re done before I even realise it. I finish the gift up by putting a silly picture of Eliot and me in the seashell frame and a picture of our paint hand prints in the other frame.
“I think Dad will like these.” Eliot says.
“Yeah, I think so too, he can put these in his office at work.”
The little boy smiles up at me and after a while he asks me a question that nearly makes me drop the frames.
“When are you and Ashton getting married?”
I’m at a loss of words, Ashton and I are probably never getting married, not after the way he looked at me two days ago.
“You’re going to see him tomorrow, aren’t you?”
Does this kid ever stop asking questions?
Reluctantly I reply: “Yes, tomorrow I’m going to London.”
“You have to get married to him when you next see him.” Eliot says with such a determined expression on his cute face that I can barely control my laughter.
“What you have to do is hides these frames, we don’t want Dad to find them before Father’s Day now do we?” I say trying to change the topic. Quickly the little curly haired boy runs off with the frames, looking for the best hiding place.
“What time will you be back from London?” Mum asks during dinner, she hasn’t said much about the whole Ashton-being-my-soulmate-thing, she knows I like to keep to myself so she doesn’t interfere much. The smile that is currently dancing on her lips gives away that she could burst with excitement though. Eliot is much like her, both are very excitable people who are not afraid to ask anything they want to know. The difference between her and my little brother is that unlike Eliot, Mum has actually learned what questions are okay to ask and when not to ask me questions.
“I don’t know, probably Thursday afternoon. Calum told me I could sleep in his spare bedroom since we’re having a movie night and it can get quite late.” I tell her.
“I’m so excited for you! I remember how exciting and nerve wrecking it was whenever I was going to see your Dad again. Please ask Ashton to come visit, I would love to meet him.” she rambles. I nod, giggling a bit. Mum is special, she’s weird, but she’s lovely.
“Beth, we need to go get ice cream before you go away!” Eliot protests suddenly and who am I to deny my baby brother from his wishes? So ten minutes later we are stood at the ice cream store only two streets away from home. We sign to each other, discussing what flavours we want. The girl at the other side of the counter looks pretty scared, that’s the effect signing has on most people; it scares them, because they’re worried about how they’ll have to interact with deaf people. It’s in those short moments that hearing people feel the same fears that deaf people feel every time they leave their own safe deaf homes. I’m always afraid how I’m going to cope when I go out and do simple things in this sound based world. Guilt overcomes me as I look at my eight year old brother ordering my ice cream for me, I wish I wouldn’t feel so stupid all the time.
As the little ball of brown curls finally releases me from his hug, I pick up my bag and put it in the car, Dad offered to drive me to the train station and an offer like that is not to be refused. Before we drive off I wave to Eliot and Lynn for the last time, she’s looking after Eliot for the short time that it’ll take Dad to drop me off at the train station.
Just as I’m about to get out of the car to catch my train, my Dad lifts his hands to talk to me. “Don’t get too nervous and worked up. Just have fun. It’ll work out the way it’s supposed to be.”
I quickly hug him, relieved that my Dad was able to drop me off and not my Mum. Dad knows exactly what to say to make me feel alright. I walk down to the right platform and take a seat, waiting for the train. He’s right, everything will work out the way it’s supposed to. If we’re not supposed to end up together even though we’re soulmates, then that’s fine. It won’t be the end of the world. This meet up won’t be the end of the world. And with that comforting thought I get on the train and to my surprise I even feel the slightest excitement for tonight curse through my body.
To: Calum Hood:
just got on the train, see you guys in a little over 2 hours xx